A full-ride to success

Natalie Casas

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Tim Lam

Tim strikes a smile with accomplishment.

Sprinting full-force across the competitive mat and darting into a stunt, DGS senior Tim Lam strikes a pose of victory. Many students at DGS are involved with sports and activities throughout their four years.

Senior Tim Lam has been on the honor roll for four years and a part of the National Honors Society for two years. As for activities, he has been involved in Mad Dash, Key Club, Mustang Way leading and is a member of the varsity cheerleading team. On the weekends, Lam also has a part-time job.

On Dec. 3, Lam was granted a full-ride scholarship to the University of Pennsylvania through the QuestBridge National College Match. 

“About 1,000 people were chosen [out of the] 11,000 people [who applied]. So a thousand people get full four-year rides to Ivy League schools… now that we got matched to the schools that we want, we are waiting for the schools to send us packages, like financial aid awards and also an admissions packet,” Lam said.

Lam describes the process of applying for the scholarship.

“[The program highlights] activities you’ve been involved in, [such as academics] and of course your [GPA]. A group of contenders up for the National College Match can potentially [gain] a four-year full-ride scholarship to schools that QuestBridge is partnered with,” Lam said.

Lam was surprised to find out he was accepted because of the prestige associated with the opportunity and describes his initial thoughts on being provided with a full-ride scholarship.

“Honestly, I’m in shock. It’s unbelievable, and I still think it’s a dream that I’m going to an Ivy League school for practically free and one of the best schools in the world — I’m mind blown,” Lam said.

Although he is extremely involved in extracurricular activities, Lam still makes his education a priority. Lam’s English teacher, Monica Schroeder, reflected on how Lam’s work ethic will provide him great success in the future.

“Tim grew as a student because he was willing to learn new skills and faces every challenge with determination. Tim is extremely dedicated and eager to learn,” Schroeder said.

Lam believes his family is a substantial motivator in his strive towards academic excellence. He claims that by putting school first, he has been able to achieve success and hopes to go into the nursing field. Lam shares that his mom is a significant factor in his determination to do well in school.

“My dad lives in Vietnam, so I grew up without a dad. My mom came [to the U.S.] when she was pregnant with me and she was an immigrant. And as a result, I would be the first generation to go to a college, so that’s why I keep up my academics. I [just] want to succeed and basically accomplish the goal she had in mind for me, which was to make money and have a happy and successful life here,” Lam said.

Lam’s mother, Sang Le, is very proud of her son and his success so far at DGS.  

“I [am] very proud of him. He is a very talented young man and I couldn’t be happier with how he’s grown,” Le said.

Another factor of Lam’s involvement has been the varsity cheerleading team at DGS. His coach, Shannon Lahey, shares that he strives for perfection on both sides. As a special education teacher and the head coach of the team, Lahey says Tim’s attitude and work ethic on and off the cheer mat is impressive.

“I think Tim is an asset to the program. Tim is somebody that strives for perfection and excellence both outside the team and the competition squad, and I think that is something that rubs off on his teammates as well,” Lahey said.

One teammate on the cheer team speaks out about his go-getter personality and his leadership in the sport. DGS junior Alexis Miller, who is a member of the cheer team, believes Lam’s spirit greatly impacts the team when it comes to dedication and leadership.

“He is always taking an initiative to improve himself and his teammates. He gives really detailed feedback that helps the team in the long run and makes us better as a unit. He’s somebody that the whole team can look up to. He’s in a variety of advanced classes while also participating on a varsity sport, showing his teammates that you can be dedicated to both a team and maintaining exceptional grades,” Miller said.

As for his life in college, Lam plans to get a degree in science and nursing and later become an anesthesiologist.