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VALLEY FOCUS | Valleywide

7 Local Students Win Scholarships

July 03, 1998|JAKE FINCH

When Jason Nhat Pham of Canoga Park left Vietnam four years ago to come to the United States, he knew he was being given an opportunity to receive an education not available to him in his country. But first he had to learn to speak English.

He carried a Vietnamese-English dictionary and painstakingly translated everything he was assigned by his teachers at Cleveland High School in Reseda. Eventually he became comfortable with his new language and went on to graduate from high school last month with a 3.9 grade-point average.

Pham, 20, was one of seven local high school seniors awarded the 1998 Medicine-Biological Science scholarship from the local chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics at a ceremony in Van Nuys on Wednesday.

All of the students were judged on their academic achievements, financial need, community service and commitment to science and medicine.

Pham, who said he wants to become a cardiac surgeon, works part time at a bank to help with his family's expenses. He also volunteers in the emergency room at Northridge Hospital Medical Center.

"They are just the most outstanding bunch of teenagers. It restores your faith in the future," said Dr. Howard Reinstein, an Encino pediatrician who sat on the scholarship committee.

Pham was awarded a first-place scholarship of $2,000. Tied for second place and each receiving $1,000 awards were Emil Avanes of Burbank High School and Alison Kim of Glendale High School. Four third-place awards of $500 each were given to Vishnu S. Brahmandam of Reseda High School, Soo-In Choi of Hoover High School in Glendale, Rosa Navarro of Monroe High School in North Hills and Thuy-Quyen Tran of Chatsworth High School.

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