• 88°

BRIGHT FUTURES — Meet Memorial’s Tommy Nguyen, a straight-A student, golfer, cook & lifesaver

There is nothing average about Memorial High School senior Tommy Nguyen.

The son of Vietnamese-born parents is a straight-A student, golfer, cook and lifesaver.

Shalequa Landry, a computer science teacher at Memorial, sings his praises.

“[Tommy] is the top excelling student among other students in class,” she said. “I have found Tommy to be an intelligent, conscientious, motivated and responsible student.

“He academically excels among his peers, asks questions to ensure his full understanding of concepts and often explains concepts to confused classmates. I consider it an honor that Tommy Nguyen has chosen me to be his favorite teacher.”

Nguyen is a native-born Texan with a deep-rooted Vietnamese heritage. His education, family and future career keep him laser focused.

Tommy Nguyen said he has gotten to meet new friends from different schools because of golf.

“Education is definitely an important element to me,” he said. “I have had all A’s my entire life and I don’t plan on slacking anytime soon, even if it is my last year.”

Nguyen is vice president of the National Honor Society, in the top 10 percent of his class maintaining a 4.8 high school GPA and a 3.8 college GPA.

Nguyen said his parents play a huge role in his education.

“My parents have always motivated me to try my best in school,” he said. “Good grades make my parents happy and knowing that I can get an education when back in Vietnam they couldn’t, that means a lot to them and me.”

Nguyen takes more than an appreciation for education from his ethnic background. The Port Arthur resident also cooks traditional Vietnamese dishes at home.

During quarantine, Nguyen has spent time learning food from his background, working at Discount Tire or playing golf at Babe Zaharias Golf Course.

The 18-year-old is captain of the Memorial Titan varsity golf team.

“I wanted to join golf because I heard it was an easy letterman, but I’ve learned that there is actually more to it,” he said. “I’ve really enjoyed playing in and out of school. I’ve gotten to meet new friends from different schools, and the satisfaction of hitting the ball right where you want it is a feeling like no other. I honestly love to play golf, and I wish I could play it for the rest of my life if I could make a living out of it. I came into it expecting nothing, but ended up finding something I really enjoy.”

Tommy Nguyen stands outside the high school campus Monday.

Nguyen also enjoys following and investing in the stock market, volunteering at Trinity Lutheran Church and spending time with his family and friends.

His long-term goals include working for Lockheed Martin, an aerospace, defense, security and advanced technology company with headquarters in Washington D.C.

Nguyen will be attending the University of Texas at Arlington next fall to study Aerospace Engineering.

“I chose Aerospace Engineering as my major because everything about the world of flight fascinates me, from the way an airplane is designed, to how an airplane can utilize lift to garner height,” he said. “I also see my future going into the stock market as well, maybe buy houses and set them out for people to rent.”

A large decision in enrolling at UTA involved being close to home and Nguyen’s role model, his father, Tien Van Nguyen.

“My dad works as a shrimper, so he’s typically gone for a long period of time, but when he’s back, he makes the most of his time with family,” Nguyen said. “It makes it feel like he was never away.”

Nguyen considers his greatest accomplishment, so far, saving his best friend from drowning.

If there is one thing he wants people to know about him, it’s that he is more than just a student who makes good grades.

“I’ve managed to make time for school and make time for other aspects of my life with friends, family and the community,” he said. “I’m a people person, and I want to make sure people know they can count on me to make time for them or be there to lift them up. I’m more than a geek with good grades.”