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Sixth Annual Vietnamese-American Youth
Excellence Recognition Luncheon

Date: Sunday, August 4th 2002
Ticket: $15/person including sit-down luncheon
Time: 11:00 am - 2:30 pm
Place: Fu-Kim Grand Palace
2615 Fannin Street
Contact Number: (281) 933-8118 or (713) 406-3030

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Since 1975, there have been large waves of Vietnamese refugees escaping from Vietnam to the United States, Canada, and other western countries. Since then, the Vietnamese-American population has grown tremendously and contributed a great deal to their adopted homeland. With a population of more than one million, the Vietnamese-American communities in the United States have started rebuilding their lives and have contributed to society in numerous different fields.  The second and third generations of Vietnamese-Americans have increased in population and consist of a major part of these communities.

In 1997, the Vietnamese Culture and Science Association organized the Vietnamese-American Youth Recognition Luncheon to recognize the academic achievement of 13 Vietnamese-American students who just graduated from more than 40 local high schools in Houston as Valedictorians or Salutatorians. Mayor Lee Brown was the Keynote Speaker for this event. The event has been very well received by the community and has had a very positive impact on the Asian youth in general and on the Vietnamese-American youths in particular. The event emphasized the importance of education and encouraged the youths to excel in the academic field. In 1998, we continued this meaningful event as a traditional part of the Annual Recruitment Program to recognize 12 Vietnamese-American students who graduated as Valedictorian or Salutatorian for the school year of 1997-1998. In 1999, the same program recognized 11 students who graduated as Valedictorian or Salutatorian for the school year of 1998-1999. In 2000, the program recognized 20 Vietnamese-American students and In 2001 we recognized 20 other students who graduated as Valedictorian or Salutatorian for their Class.

The Vietnamese Culture and Science Association would like to keep this tradition by organizing the Youth Excellence Recognition Luncheon for the school year of 2001-2002. In this event, we would like to encourage the younger generations of Vietnamese-Americans to excel in education by recognizing the outstanding academic and leadership achievements of the Vietnamese-American high school students in the Houston area and vicinity. The Luncheon will be devoted to the recognition of all Vietnamese-American high school students from Houston and vicinity who graduated either as Valedictorian or Salutatorian in the school year 2001-2002. We will also include some performances highlighting Vietnamese culture during this program.

The Recognition Luncheon will be organized on Sunday, August 4, 2002 at Fu Kim Restaurant, 2615 Fannin Street, Houston, Texas, from 11:00am to 2:00pm.

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Keynote Speaker
Van Thai Tran, Esq.

Van Thai Tran was elected to the Garden Grove City Council for a four-year term in November 2000.  Van was the top voter-getter in a field of 9 city council candidates, having received the highest number of votes for a council election in the city’s history.  Van emigrated with his family to the U.S. from Saigon, Vietnam at the age of 10.

Out of 479 incorporated municipalities in California, Garden Grove is the 18th largest city in the state, with a population of 175,000 residents.  Van is the second Vietnamese-American to be elected to public office in the United States, and the first in Garden Grove.  As Mayor Pro Tempore, Van is currently the highest-ranking elected official of Vietnamese descent in the country.  He is also chairman of the Garden Grove Housing Authority, a city agency with a $21 million-dollar budget that serves over 2,000 low-income families.  He was recently appointed to the Committee on Community, Economic and Housing Development of the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) – a regional entity that represents the interest of 189 cities in Southern California.

Van is currently a managing partner with his own private law practice, Van Thai Tran & Associates, with offices in the City of Westminster, California.  During the mid-and-late 1980’s Van served as a staff aide to Congressman Robert K. Dornan and then-State Senator (now Congressman) Ed Royce.  He was the first Vietnamese to serve on the personal staff of a Member of Congress. Van was 20 years old at the time.

In the 1990’s, Van founded the Vietnamese-American Voters Coalition (VAVOCO), a non-profit organization that promotes voter education and awareness.  Among its many civic activities, VAVOCO helped organized the largest voter registration campaign in the Vietnamese-American community by registering over 5,000 new voters in Southern California over a three-month period in 1999.  Currently, Van is an executive member/delegate of the California Republican Party and the chairman of the Vietnamese Committee of the Orange County Republican Party.  His other civic activities include membership on the Asian-Pacific Congressional Advisory Board of Congressman Ed Royce; Vice Chairman of the Orange County Boy Scouts, El Capitan District; and a member of the Fundraising Committee of the Garden Grove Community Foundation.

Prior to his election to the city council, Van has served as a Garden Grove Planning Commissioner.  He has also served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Regional Center of Orange County.  Van was a freelance editorial columnist for the Orange County Register and the English Section of the Nguoi Viet Daily, the largest Vietnamese-language newspaper in the nation.  He is also an alumnus and member of the prestigious organization, American Council of Young Political Leaders, and a delegate of the American-Swiss Foundation Young Leaders’ Conference, Class of 2002.

Van earned a B.A. in political science from the University of California, Irvine, and both a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and a Juris Doctorate from Hamline University School of Law in Saint Paul, Minnesota.  The Los Angeles Times and the Orange County Register recognized Van as a “Person to Watch” for the years 1998 and 2001, respectively.  With over 17 years of community service, Van received many awards for his civic and political achievements.

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The Vietnamese Culture and Science Association would like to recognize the contribution of the following corporation, businesses and individuals for their generous sponsorship of our Sixth Annual Vietnamese-American Youth Excellence Recognition Luncheon


Texas Instruments
Mr. Kenny Quach & State Farm Insurance
KT Printing
Ms. Kim Nguyen & Metropolitan Life Insurance
Houston Saigon Radio
TN Photography and Flower
Banh Cuon Thien Thanh
Houston Rocket
Electronic Data System Company
Song Huong Company
Dr. Danh Le
City Pets
Dr. Dang Tan Buu
Dr. Mai Tram Nguyen
Alpine Financial Services
Doan's Agency
Klear Vision
Little Saigon Radio
VOVN Radio
Ngay Nay Magazine

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Copyright © 1997 The Vietnamese Culture & Science Association
Last modified: June 26, 2004