White Bear Lake, Minn. (May 7, 2010) – Century College Asian alumni enjoyed a festive dinner, entertainment and networking opportunity May 7, at the annual Asian Alumni Success Celebration on the Lincoln Mall.
Keynote speaker Ka Vang, diversity programs director for Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, said there are 165,000 Asian Americans in the Twin Cities now, but 50 percent of the young people do not graduate from high school.
“It is a myth that we are the model minority,” said Vang. “Many of us are not accessing educational institutions. We have to work harder to change those numbers. It is education that will lead us out of poverty.”
Vang encouraged Century alumni to be proud of being graduates of Century College. She noted that many of Century’s Asian graduates have gone on to professional careers. For example, her uncle, Dr. Kou Vang, was a low-paid factory worker until he attended Century grad and then went on to become a successful dentist in St. Paul.
Another uncle was a baggage handler until he attended Century and then started the Sunrise Food Market in St. Paul. And Vang’s best friend attended Century even though her family encouraged her to work in a factory. She now has a good job at Ecolab in St. Paul.
“These people got their leadership skills, their public speaking skills and their accounting skills from Century College,” said Vang.
Vang’s youngest sister, Gaosong Vang, a senior at Tartan High School who aspires to be a professional singer, entertained the audience with two beautiful songs. The Minnesota Angels performed a traditional dance.
President Litecky presented two Asian alumni awards. Pajtsheng Vang of Lake Elmo, the sales director for Primerica Financial Services, received the Outstanding Asian Alum Award, and Christianna Hang of the Hmong Academy Charter High School in St. Paul received the Outstanding Service to the Asian Community award.
Patjtsheng Vang, who attended Century in the early 1980s, said all of his children have gone on to college because of his experience at Century. “Everything came from here,” said Vang. “I learned success is not an accident. It takes a lot of hard work and sacrifice. You have got to do what’s right and live by your principles.”
Christianna Hang said she was the first girl in her family to graduate from high school and go on to college. “I am a true believer in higher education,” she said. “We are awesome Hmong people. We need to be proud of who we are.”