Lambert High School's Henry Xuan will soon be headed to the Ivy League and is making the most out of his remaining time in Forsyth County.
Xuan, a 2020 Lambert graduate, will soon be attending Harvard University, which he called “an absolute dream come true.”
“That's actually what I've been mostly doing during my quarantine, just figuring out where I plan on going to college,” Xuan said.
In his time at Lambert, Xuan rose to leadership positions both at the school and in statewide organizations.
Xuan served in a variety of roles including as state executive president for Future Business Leaders of America, state executive president and district of the Georgia Association of Student Councils, sophomore class president and senior class commissioner at Lambert, president and captain of the school's debate team and student leader of the Whisper Movement, which aims to create connections between students to address social isolation.
“[The Whisper Movement] wasn't a movement I planned to get involved with, but I think my experience with leadership and my experience actually seeing first hand the impact social isolation has had not just on the students at our school, but friends I've been friends with, I realized this is something that we really need to build a stronger community bond,” he said.
Class of 2020
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The COVID-19 outbreak “definitely has not been easy,” Xuan said, due to the cancellation of senior milestones and the annual FBLA conference just days before it was scheduled.
“That was kind of the final event for my term as state president,” Xuan said. “It was the biggest event of the year. It was the event that you work hard all year to get to, and we were the first state officer team in the history of Georgia FBLA not to have a state conference.”
Xuan said while it could be easy to get caught up in the negative, social distancing did give him a chance to consider his school options, read more, take some online courses and spend more time with family before he moves.
Even with all of his successes, Xuan said one of his biggest, though not glamorous, memories came at the first pep rally of his freshman year, when he tried a backflip, with an “emphasis on tried.”
“I didn't get to land it,” Xuan recalled. “I landed on my neck/back area, and if that weren't enough the whole incident was caught on video and kind of memed by the rest of the school. Because of that, I was kind of known as the backflip boy for the rest of the year, and I don't think anyone actually knew my real name.”
Xuan laughed as he told the story and said he was able to get a better perspective on it after talking with an adviser, one of several adults he said were influential in his time at Lambert, including teachers, counselors, vice principals, coaches, his FBLA supervisor and Principal Gary Davison.
“These people have all played a significant part of developing not just the leader that I get to be today but also the person and the character that I am today,” Xuan said. “Throughout the years, I've been able to just walk right into their offices and any problem I've been having, they've been more than happy to offer their suggestions, their advice and just be there to comfort me when I need them.”