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But Nguyen, whose warmth and quick laugh exude ease, has some idea. And she regularly turns to her personal story to say to students, I’ve been there and there is a way forward. “How you show up has to be intentional,” she said about why she feels a responsibility to talk about an experience others might rather forget. “At the end of the day, it’s about students,” she added. “It’s not about you.”. During her first office hours as Foothill president last year, Nguyen capitalized on the Pokemon GO craze sweeping the country, marching across campus to a popular PokeStop and setting up a tent so she could meet students who might otherwise feel too intimidated to come.

She launched an “I’m the first” campaign to identify faculty and staff who were the first in their families to fitting demi pointe shoes graduate from college that students could ask for guidance, This coming year, at the request of students, it will expand to students who want to wear the label on a button, “You will be changing your family’s history,” she tells them, “That’s powerful stuff.”, The last thing Nguyen wants to do is be mentally guarded, “with armor,” because she never knows when sharing a part of her experience will have a lasting impact, she said, In the fall, she sent an email to the campus community identifying herself as a first-generation college graduate, Months later, a young woman who had been struggling confessed that message helped give her the confidence to continue..

Nguyen knows what that’s like. After law school, she joined the Peralta Community College District in the East Bay and was shortly asked to step into the general counsel role. She was 25. As she drove home, the Lee Ann Womack song “I Hope You Dance” came on the radio. You can do this, her mentor had said. “I’m dancing,” Nguyen vowed. It was a job she’d hold for more than a decade. Nguyen — who is married to Thang Nguyen Barrett, the first Vietnamese-American judge to be appointed to the California judiciary and a former community college student himself — wanted to do more to give low-income students and young people of color opportunities to pursue legal careers. So, in 2014, she volunteered to create what has come to be known as California’s 2+2+3 pathway. It’s a collection of community colleges who partner with a series of four-year universities and law schools in the state to mentor and encourage students to pursue legal careers, part of an effort to diversify what is a largely white profession.

The work earned her the fitting demi pointe shoes Diversity Award from the State Bar of California, Now, she’s spearheading a program that gives local high school students a chance to take classes at Foothill for free and get a head start on college, Interest has been particularly high among students of color, she said, noting that she sees the program as a way to reduce gaps in college access, Closing those gaps, Nguyen insists, “is possible.” It’s why she endures an hour-and-a-half commute from Castro Valley and long days away from her daughter Ha-Tien, 10, and son Tai, 8, Finally, she said, more people are coming around to the idea that closing those educational gaps is possible with hard work and creativity, “It’s no longer a question of the deficiency of the students,” she said, “To finally start from that point is refreshing.”..

When people approach the teenage subjects of the documentary “Step,” the girls know what’s coming. “We expect all of them to cry,” says Tayla Solomon. “Most people do.”. A year ago, Solomon, Blessin Giraldo and Cori Grainger were fairly typical kids. They had just graduated from the Baltimore Leadership School for Young Women and were getting ready to start college. Now, Michelle Obama is tweeting about how phenomenal they are, and they’re scheduled for interviews on all the morning talk shows. This isn’t what they had expected when filmmaker Amanda Lipitz asked to chronicle their senior year on the school’s step team. They thought the movie would be a small thing — a time capsule for a few people.

But then “Step” was selected for this year’s Sundance Film Festival, “I didn’t even know what Sundance was, so I had to do my research,” Grainger says during a visit to the District of Columbia, “Then we went to the premiere, and we won an award, I think that’s when it clicked for a lot of us.”, Suddenly, “Step” felt less like a documentary and more like a phenomenon, Impressively shot with captivating subjects, the film, which opened Aug, 4 in the Bay Area, is an uplifting tear-jerker, set in a city still grappling with Freddie Gray’s death at the hands fitting demi pointe shoes of Baltimore police, “Step” is, in part, about the team’s quest to win a big competition, but it also covers much more: how difficult it can be to escape from poverty; how important advocates are; and, of course, the tribulations of being a teenager..

The response to the film has been overwhelming. After screenings, viewers feel compelled to offer the girls pep talks or relate how they overcame their own obstacles. The power of the movie lies in the girls’ openness about their complicated emotions and fears. We see them crying because there isn’t food in the house or the electricity has been shut off. It can’t be easy to let the world see you at your most vulnerable, but the trio seems at peace with what’s on screen. “There are some parts of our personal lives that need to be shown,” Solomon says, “not because we want it to be shown, but because a lot of people can relate to it.”.

Adds Grainger: “Sometimes it’s a little uncomfortable to watch, because it’s our stories and our struggles, But at the same time, at the end, it’s our triumphs fitting demi pointe shoes — our making it out of whatever situation we were feeling stuck in at the time.”, The three young women, all 18, are on their way to being the first in their families to get bachelor’s degrees, Giraldo just finished her first year at Coppin State University; Grainger is at Johns Hopkins; and Solomon attends Alabama A&M..

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