My name is Ranah Ahmed and my role at APS is a first-grade classroom teacher and I work at Hoffman-Boston Elementary School. AAPI Heritage Month means to me celebrating what makes us all unique and sharing our cultures with others.
My name is Paul Bui and I am a computer science teacher at Washington-Liberty High School. To me, AAPI Heritage Month means acknowledging and celebrating all the Asian Pacific Americans that have contributed to our country’s rich history. Like many other Asian Pacific Americans, my parents immigrated to the U.S., and I believe that I represent their shared values, sacrifices, and experiences.
My name is Mungunzaya Coughlin. My Role in APS is to help connect and engage families and schools, and I work closely with other school staff, including Office of English Learners staff, special education staff, teachers, administrators, students, and parents, and with professionals in the community. The Bilingual Family Liaison serves as a liaison between bicultural families and the school. I work as Bilingual Family Liaison at Hoffman-Boston Elementary School.
AAPI Heritage Month means to me to share my own stories of who I am as AAPI in the community and to get to know other AAPI of who they are and recognizing and to get to know them and to hear their voices. What I would like others to know about what I represent is I am one of the first generation of immigrants from Mongolia after the communist system broke down. I am one of many young Asian immigrants who came to this country, and earned an undergraduate degree, have been employed in this country, started my own family, raising our child and have contributed to my local community by working in APS for past 6 years. Even though I was born and raised in an Asian country, I am an American.
My name is Young Hee Margaret Chung. I am the proud principal of Arlington Career Center (ACC). ACC’s amazing programs are Career and Technical Education, Academic Academy, Arlington Tech, English Learner Institute, Program for Employment Preparedness and the Teen Parenting Program. We are united by our mission is to instill a passion for learn by doing.
AAPI Heritage Month means to me a time to reflect on and honor the present and past journeys of our community. My parents’ story begins in Japanese occupied Korea, then WWII, the Korean War, service to ROK, to immigrating to the US in the 1970’s to seek the American Dream. It is difficult for me to imagine and fully appreciate their perspective on life, but one thing I know is that their laughter feels at once epic and fully present. They have taught me to fully embrace my Korean roots while creating new roots in the US, to always speak from the heart and to know that there is no higher purpose than to serve others. Their laughter reminds me to take joy in each new day and to grow stronger through perseverance. I am grateful to be able to share this piece of my AAPI heritage with the APS community.
My name is Catherine Han. My role in APS is an Assistant Principal and I work at Hoffman-Boston Elementary School. To me, AAPI Heritage Month means having the space to recognize, remember and honor our history in the US, celebrate our cultures, and honor our ancestors and homelands. I identify as Korean American. We are generally known through things like BTS, make up, or fermented foods such as Kimchi. Hard work, diligence, and being a productive member of American society are a hallmark of Korean American culture. As an Asian American, each community and individual has a story that contributes to the richness of the AAPI Community. I represent parts of the unique narratives that my community holds. I look forward to sharing and hearing stories from those within the AAPI community to truly understand the variety of our experiences growing up Asian in America.
My name is Theresia Hernisanti. My role in APS is a Food Service Manager and I work at Hoffman Boston Elementary School. AAPI Heritage Months means a lot to me because we get to learn about countries and their cultures. What I would like others to know about what I represent is that Indonesia has a very diverse and beautiful culture.
My name is Maggie Hsu. My role in APS is Assistant Principal and I work at Wakefield High School. AAPI Heritage Month to me means to reflect on my own identity and journey, and continue to educate myself and others about current issues related to the AAPI community. What I would like others to know about what I represent is that we are a proud, strong and resilient community. We will not be invisible, and will no longer be the silent minority.
My name is Dat Le and my role in APS is Science Supervisor and I work at the Department of Teaching and Learning. To me, AAPI Heritage Month is an opportunity to share and reflect on the contributions that Asian Americans have made to society. This not only include science and technology, but also many other areas, such as food and culture.What I would like others to know about me is that I represent Vietnamese Americans and frequently visited Little Saigon in Arlington as a little kid. My mom used to work at Pacific, which was one of the shops in that community. I also remember going to Vietnamese school, which was held at Kenmore Middle School in the eighties.
Hello, I am Catherine Jung-Hsin Lin and I go by Cathy. I serve as Director of Facilities and Operations and our offices are located at the Trades Yard near Shirlington. I am a strong advocate of renewable energy and sustainability and look for ways to help APS go green. I love working with students on sustainability topics and am constantly amazed at our students creativity, voice, and passion.
For me, AAPI Heritage Month means seeing the richness of our Asian and Pacific Islander communities. When folks are grouped together, sometimes you miss the depth of these individual cultures and their history. During this month, I reflect on my experience as a first generation Chinese American and why my parents immigrated to this country. My parents were proud to be Americans and wanted my sister and I to work hard and do well in their adopted country. My mom was an amazing cook and I was constantly amazed at how she worked full time and still cooked us the most delicious Chinese food every evening. I don’t think we saw many potatoes growing up at dinner.
I want others to know that I represent the hope immigrants have for their children when they come to the United States. The hope of opportunity and stability. It has taken me time to realize that being different is ok, sharing our cultures strengthens our connections and having a voice is important.
My name is Sheila Tabag Napala and my role at APS is the teacher of the Physical Therapy/Sports Medicine Program at the Arlington Career Center. AAPI Heritage Month to me is a time of reflection through a process of acquiring, personalizing, and applying knowledge that is pertinent to understanding one’s identity, culture, and connection to one’s community. What I would like others to know about what I represent is that as one of the four founders of Samahang Pilipino, the first Pilipino-American organization on the UCLA campus back in 1972, we were committed to sustaining our cultural, social, political, academic, and community awareness. This responsibility carried over into mentoring teens out in our own off-campus communities during summer breaks. By the way, we spell Filipino with a “P” because the letter “F” does not exist in the Tagalog alphabet.
My name is Boramy Nginn. I have been an EL Instructional Assistant at Wakefield High School for 36 years. To me, AAPI Heritage Month is an opportunity to share and educate others about our unique cultures and traditions. It is also a chance to recognize community leaders for their achievements. I represent resilience and strength. I have the unique ability to relate to all my students who have fled their country to have freedom and opportunity here in the United States having done so myself in 1975. I can sympathize with the feeling of fear and loneliness from not knowing the culture and language.
My name is Undram Nyamaa and my role in APS is the Administrative Specialist in the Department of Planning and Evaluation. AAPI Heritage Month reminds me to embrace who I am as an Asian-American, to reflect on my journey so far, and to remember our elders who came before me. I came to the US at a young age with my family to pursue the American Dream. Throughout my life here, my parents always emphasized sticking to our roots and staying true to our traditions. This created a blended culture in my household— one where I got to live the American Dream and give back to my community at the same time. Growing up with such pride, I wanted to find ways to engage with our Mongolian-American community more. That is why outside of APS, I volunteer for non-profit organizations called The Mongolian Cultural Center and Friends of Mongolia. The purpose of these organizations is to support and promote education, culture and traditional life of Mongolians. I strongly believe that getting involved and giving back to the community is a great way to show appreciation and recognize the depth of the immigrant life experience. I am grateful for the experiences I have had and will continue to do my part in helping not just the Mongolian-American community, but the AAPI community as a whole, flourish.
My name is Jasneen Sahni and I am an Assistant Principal at Wakefield High School. AAPI Heritage Month to me means that Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders that bring diversity to the world are recognized for their contributions, their struggles acknowledged, and their voices heard. I represent the wide range of those that are proud enough to be AAPI. We are a diaspora all over the world and come in all colors and varieties. We should all be accepted for who we are and educate others on our many backgrounds.
My name is Davis Tran and I have been teaching biology at Wakefield High School since 2015. Outside of the classroom, I serve as Science Fair co-director and mentor students as faculty co-sponsor of WHS Asian Club. For me, AAPI Heritage Month is a time to reflect on how we stand on the shoulder of giants, to reflect on our humble beginnings and celebrate, honor, as well as thank those that paved a path of opportunity for us. For me, that’s my mother, who emigrated to the U.S. as a boat refugee shortly after the Vietnam War. Her early challenges of adapting to a new language and starting anew with what she could carry with her own two hands tells not only a story of sacrifice, but also resonates a story of resilience. As an educator, I hope to help my students embrace their roots and find inspiration from their own heritage as I have found mine.
My name is Eric W. Underhill and I am an Assistant Principal at Swanson Middle School. AAPI Heritage Month is a time to celebrate the many different cultures, histories and identities of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Asian-Americans and Pacific Islanders encompass people from several world regions and over four dozen countries. Even as a member of the AAPI community, this time of year is a time when I learn, connect and engage with Korean and other cultures of the AAPI community.
Although recent events of anti-Asian hate have impacted our community, this is a time to celebrate the cultures of Asian Americans and learn about their journeys, experiences and identities. As an educator, I want to raise other’s awareness of the AAPI community, it’s strengths, and the importance of stopping anti-Asian hate. Together, we can learn from the AAPI community and can build solidarity across our entire society.
I am natively from South Korea and was adopted at birth. I began my journey as an Asian-American as an infant when I traveled from South Korea to New York to meet my adopted family. This was more than an airplane flight across the globe, it was the start of my journey. I learned about my Korean heritage through my participation in our local Korean community growing up. At the same time, I learned about my adopted parent’s cultures and customs from Germany and Poland. Although my journey has been different than others, I am very proud of my Korean heritage. Although I do not know my birth parents, I am proud to be AAPI because of their love and sacrifice. Their love and that of my adoptive parents have allowed me to have the life I have today, something I am forever grateful for.