Vietnamese family celebrates second Greenwood High School valedictorian in a row

Bowling Green, Kentucky (The Bowling Green Daily News): When Leon Trinh looks ahead to graduating this year as Greenwood High School’s valedictorian, he realizes his Vietnamese immigrant father, Trung Trinh, was a constant source of inspiration.

After fleeing Vietnam in a wooden boat with his family at age 6, Trung Trinh later came to America for a better life. He went on to graduate as Greenwood High School’s valedictorian in 1992 and build a successful life and career as a Bowling Green pharmacist.

“It motivates me to be the man he is,” Leon said of his father.

Leon is following in his father’s footsteps and will graduate at the top of his class Friday.

It’s becoming a family tradition.

His eldest brother, Leonardo, graduated as Greenwood High School’s valedictorian last year.

For Trung Trinh, the secret to his family’s success is education and the opportunity that America provides.

“Nothing can hold you back from following your dreams,” he said, referring to the philosophy he drills into his children. “It’s up to you to run with it.”

Leon will graduate among a class of 254 students. He’s always dreamed of graduating at the top of his class, adding he remembers writing motivational letters as part of a class assignment in the eighth grade.

When accounting for his advanced placement courses, Trinh said his son is closer to a 4.3 GPA. Leon’s graduating with several honors, including National Honors Society and Beta Club memberships.

“We’ve always valued education, academics,” Trinh said of his family.

When asked what his plans are post-graduation, Leon said he’d like to study medicine and become an orthopedic surgeon. He has his heart set on the University of Kentucky, but he’s received scholarship offers from both UK and Western Kentucky University.

Leon credits his dad for inspiring him to become a doctor, and he finds joy in the idea of building a career around helping others.

He also draws inspiration from his father’s journey and struggle.

“It’s a great example for me,” Leon said, adding it’s shown him that “success can be achieved through hard work, dedication, studying, knowing what you want and achieving those goals.”

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