The Student News Site of Tompkins High School

The Nestline

The Student News Site of Tompkins High School

The Nestline

The Student News Site of Tompkins High School

The Nestline

Nguyen Dreams Since 12


This is the moment she had waited for since she was a kid. Her foot patted the floor impatiently. The line felt over ten miles long despite the small room being only 45 feet long. Each person that entered the room spent over an hour inside, leaving her to just wait. She felt like almost leaving, but she knew that if she left her, her dream will be scattered farther into the future. Now, Chemistry teacher Annie Nguyen waited and waited for her dream to come.

She was ready to get this over with. She was ready to get what she had dreamed for over a decade. She closed her eyes, her foot going at what felt like 50 miles per hour and her heart felt the same. Her shaky hand was covered with her mothers, patting reassuringly. She took a few deep breaths, shutting her eyes for a moment. She squeezed her mother’s hand as the feeling of anxiety replaced itself with pure excitement. Next thing she knew, she was at the front of the line, and her name being called from the woman inside. She knew her dream was waiting inside for her, and all she had to do was take a step inside.

“I was born in Hanoi, Vietnam,” said Nguyen. “I lived in both Vietnam and England, before moving finally to America.”

Nguyen was born in Hanoi, Vietnam and was constantly moving to different cities and countries since she was young. When she was ten, her family settled in America. Since moving to America, Nguyen found herself wanting to be an American citizen.

“I wanted to be an American citizen since I was ten,” Nguyen said. “I wanted to have my rights like other citizens because I knew I was going to stay here.”

Nguyen was 22 years old when she got her citizenship last year in September. She went through junior high, high school, and college before working as a chemistry teacher for two years now.

“I waited 12 years to finally get my citizenship,” Nguyen said.

To get your American citizenship, there are many steps to go through. You first have to get your green card and then wait up to five years to get your citizenship. The problem for Nyguen and her family was that they has to wait five years to get their green card. This process led to more than ten years before any of them could get their citizenship.

“It seemed like an important time for her,” said sophomore Victoria Reyes. “I could understand because I had to get one when I was younger, so I understand the struggle.”

Nguyen missed a day at school to get her citizenship. In the class Reyes was in, she did not mention that she was getting her citizenship. The day after, Nguyen had filled her classroom and American flags to celebrate her citizenship.

“She was excited after she came back as you could tell when she put all of the American flags around the classroom,” said Reyes. “She seemed proud too, she had a big smile on her face the whole period.”

After receiving her citizenship, Nguyen also changed her name to Annie, which was what she had been going by since she moved to America.

“I felt proud that I was finally a citizen,” Nguyen said. “I felt that everything paid off.”

Dreams can take a long time to achieve whether it be moving around or having to wait five years to even start on your dream. Getting your citizenship is a process that can take a long time, just like other dreams. In the end you feel proud in all the hard work it took to get there, just like Nguyen did.

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    Brian ChengJul 10, 2023 at 11:02 am

    “One of my favorite teachers while I was still in Tompkins.”
    – Brian Cheng (A graduated senior from 2022)