Scholars in the Spotlight: Passion, persistence, and pleasure pull Tran to success

Fortune cookies.

You have definitely eaten one at some time or another.

You most certainly have read the fortune declaring your “fate”.
Sam Tran is the Burrowes Scholar for Chinese

But, have you ever turned over your fortune and looked at the Chinese characters?

Probably not. If you had, you may have learned a little Chinese here and there. And maybe that word would have been 黄瓜. The Chinese word, 黄瓜, means cucumber and is pronounced “Huanggua”.

It just so happens that 黄瓜 is Samantha Tran’s favorite Chinese character. And that’s saying something. There are over 50,000 characters in the Chinese language. 

With such a passion for Chinese, Samantha Tran earned the Mandarin Chinese Burrowes Scholar Award this year.

Entering high school, Tran ruled out German and Spanish and decided to pursue Chinese.

“I thought that learning Chinese would be interesting and different,” Tran remarks. 

And that it is. This past Thursday, the Asian Culture Club, of which Samantha Tran is President, hosted an edible insect presentation. Tran loves that it is impossible to separate the Chinese language from its culture. As President, she has helped organize and participate in the Asian Fun Fair, martial arts and acupuncture presentations, and an upcoming school supply drive. She even plans to represent the club at the Fair Queen competition during the West Lampeter Fair next year.

Mr. Brian Fisher, the high school's first and only Chinese teacher, sung high praise for Tran.

"I believe that Sam was implanted with a Chinese microchip in her brain when she was born," he says. "Her fluency is high, tones are accurate, and she is an amazing Chinese language learner." 
Tran and Maggie Johnson recruit students to
join the Asian Culture Club at the club fair
for freshmen, which was held in August

And so, there is no doubt that Samantha Tran is a deserving recipient of the Mandarin Chinese Burrowes Scholar Award.

However, Chinese class is not the only place where Tran shines. In addition to taking Mandarin 4, she is currently taking three Advanced Placement courses and plans on attending college after graduation next year. She is still deciding on her career path, but it will most likely not involve Chinese.

That said, Samantha Tran has a deep passion for Chinese. If she had one thing to say to her fellow classmates it would be: “我希望你们学中文!”

Don’t know what that means? Try reading the back of your fortune next time!*

*Ok, she’ll tell you what it means. “I hope you all study Chinese!”

This is the fourth article in an series featuring each of the high school recipients of the Burrowes Scholar award, which is given to one student in each subject area who demonstrates academic excellence in that subject. For more articles, visit this page. The series is coordinated by senior staff writer Mackenzie Miller, a three-time Burrowes Scholar herself.

--Mackenzie Miller, Senior Staff Writer

Edited: BP

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