Reading the Foothill College President

Kristian Curkovic, Staff Writer

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The human library is an event where people will check in as “books”, sharing their story, and the readers will borrow them for a brief moment to listen and discuss their story. The stories this year were amazing and the “books” are notably brave for opening up and sharing their stories. The readers get to learn so much and experience a life completely different from their own, enriching their own lives and stories. It is truly a brilliant event hosted by brilliant people, Allison Herman and Hilda Fernandez. We also had the honor of having the Foothill College president as a book to read and her story was truly inspiring. We never truly understand a person until we get to hear their story and the already charismatic Thuy only became even more loveable after sharing her incredible story.

“The cup runneth over” was one of the titles she had suggested for her own book and she explained that it was a passage from the Bible. She explained that we can all see the glass either half full or half empty but if we pour the contents of the glass into another cup we will see that the cup runs over. We have so much to be thankful for, she says. She is very grateful and thankful, her cup runneth over, she says. She shines as she speaks, capturing her audience with her gracious way of storytelling.

She could also have gone with a different title, she explains, a title that highlights the rough journey she and her parents embarked upon on in search of a better life for themselves. She was on a small fishing boat for 25 days on her way to America. If this small boat would have ever safely made it to America is not a certainty, but fortunately for her and her family, they never had to find out. They were picked up by a larger ship and taken to Japan.

The joyful and charismatic Thuy says that her first memory was jumping on the bed with her brother, singing “little monkeys”, annoying her parents, but I find it hard to believe that Thuy could ever annoy anyone, even as a child.

She made a career out of her law degree and later became the Foothill college president in July 2016.

She says it has not always been easy. Being a woman and a woman of color she has had to break stereotypes but the one thing she said her mentor taught her was to always just be herself. This, she says, she tries to be even every day. Even though she has a lot of pressure on her as the college president she still laughs with a genuine and authentic heart and tells her stories with great passion.

What keeps her going, she says, are the students. The best thing about her position is the amazing people she gets to meet, she explains. She even mapped out all of the poke-stops on campus in Pokemon Go during the Pokemon Go craze last summer, just so she could have an excuse to stumble upon exciting new members of Foothill College.

In front of her was a bowl with pins. “The first” is a movement Thuy has started to honor the first generation of people in their family that are attending college. Watching students learn and grow, getting their ticket for success in life through college, is what drives and motivates Thuy.

It is obvious that Thuy is passionate about the community and education and it is truly a blessing for Foothill College to have her as the president. We wrap up this human library event and hopefully, the next one will be just as fantastic. 

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