Who knows Daniel Nguyen?

Who knows Daniel Nguyen?

Sara Yang

Daniel Nguyen left MVHS in 2003.  Six years later, he is back.

The lawns of Cupertino have been invaded by campaign posters.  Cupertino City Council Candidate Daniel Nguyen thinks of politics as "public service," and he is trying to show it by taking action.

Less than 10 years ago, Nguyen was living the life of a typical MVHS student — taking classes like Biology AP, debating Student Congress-style in Speech and Debate and tutoring math and science for extra cash.  

When he left MVHS for UCLA in 2003, Nguyen added public service to his list of interests while serving on two political student advisory boards.  For the past few years, he has developed a passion for serving the community.  Though Nguyen seems to have his hands full with the upcoming Cupertino City Council election, he has a long held passion for education.

Nguyen’s passion for public service has branched into several directions.  After completing graduate school with a Biostatistics degree in 2008, he furthered his drive to help the community as a researcher at the Veteran’s Hospital in Menlo Park, vice chair of the Cupertino Public Safety Commission, and a member of the Cupertino Rotary community service club.  However, after serving his city on City Council, Nguyen plans on taking his career in a different direction — becoming a teacher.

"Back in the day, we had an elective class called Teacher Cadet," Nguyen said.  "Essentially, this program, led by teacher I-hung McComb, gave students the opportunity to test out what it was like to be a teacher, lectures and all." 

In Nguyen’s case, he taught four classes of his own in total. 

"Over half my senior year was teaching classes… we called it ‘TC AP,’ like ‘AP Teacher Cadet,’" said Nguyen.

He aims to enroll in a teacher education program next year, then possibly go back to where it all began: MVHS.

Nguyen has already started following his roots back to the school. DECA members first began to meet him at club events and festivals in the beginning of the school year. His appearance at a DECA member meeting was accompanied with an introduction to a volunteer opportunity for students — the Civil Action Program (CAP). 

The CAP is Nguyen’s student internship program, designed to "create [a] connection between students and the community," according to one of Nguyen’s campaign managers and MVHS senior Diane Keng.
Students receive volunteer hours, interact with community leaders, and experience the process of a campaign. Their time is spread among methods of reaching out to individuals and pitching the cause, like walking door-to-door and phone banking. The program has been popularized by community service clubs on campus, such as CSF, Key Club and Interact. Nguyen’s involvement has garnered support from various students in his campaign.

"It’s really cool to support him… he can relate to us, and I feel like he’s someone who would get involved with each age group of the community," senior Key Club president Mahlet Yared said.
"He’s that bridge between teenagers, adults, as well as the older population in our community… he’s able to represent the younger voice that’s not typically volunteered," Keng said.  "He’s a really good role model for what [MVHS] can create."
According to Nguyen, his time spent at MVHS has shaped who he is today.

"Going to [MVHS], then going to college, you realize that what you learn at [MVHS] is invaluable," Nguyen said.  "My message to students right now is… to appreciate what you’re learning, it’ll come back to help you later.  And, don’t forget what you’re learning, because you’re going to need it."
Whether it is in a classroom or a city council hall, Nguyen is all about going back to his roots.