It’s all about… Yung

Yung Kincer, Alabama's Teacher of the Year 2009-2010

We know that life is good, even on our worst day many of us are blessed beyond measure.  We see the pictures in magazines and hear the stories in the news about those less fortunate but it really doesn’t resonate with us because “those” people are over “there” going through it.

Last week I had the pleasure of hearing Yung Kincer’s story.  I am sure that I will not get all of the details correct but I will give you the jist of the story. 

Yung was born in Vietnam and at the age of 5 she and her family were forced to flee their village because of the civil unrest occurring.  Her mother was running, carrying Yung’s baby brother on her hip and holding Yung’s hand but they were separated.  Yung’s mother asked Yung’s aunt to take care of her because she could not manage with both children.  Yung says that this was the last time that she saw her mother.  Yung, her aunt and uncle managed to escape and later settled in the United States.  She arrived not able to speak English and with no understanding of the American culture.  However, she credits her ability to adjust to the numerous teachers in her life who took the time to help her along and encourage her.  Growing up in an abusive household with her aunt and uncle, she was put out of the house as a teenager and moved around from house to house but still managed to graduate from high school in the top ten percent of her class.  Again, she gives credit to the teachers who knew her story but encouraged her to complete her high school education because they knew that without at least a high school diploma, Yung’s life would be much more difficult than it already was.  Upon graduation, she did not go directly to college rather began working odd jobs to support herself.  It wasn’t until a friend’s grandmother suggested that she attend college that Yung actually took the thought into serious consideration.  Since then Yung has received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Education, teaches at the Booker T. Washington School in Montgomery AL and is currently being recognized as Alabama’s Teacher of the Year for 2009-2010.

I wanted to tell Yung’s story because so many times we focus on the “woe is me” and only think about the hardships that we face.  When you hear of someone in Yung’s situation, you know that this story could have gone a million different ways and none of them resulting in a happy ending.  Throughout Yung’s story, she emphasizes that she came to America knowing no one and once her aunt and uncle put her out, she was all alone.  However, she continuously credits the communities that she grew up in, the people who saw something in her that she did not even see in herself for making her the success that she is today.  She further encourages each of us to take an interest in a child, not our own or even a relative, but someone whose light may be about to dim and give them that extra push that they may need to go the extra mile and make something of themselves.

This week is all about Yung Kincer, a woman whose story is truly inspiring.  She has a great sense of humor, a generous spirit and is a beautiful person on the outside as well as on the inside (and she has a fabulous shoe collection).

Check back next week… it could be all about YOU!!


One thought on “It’s all about… Yung

  1. I read this before (on my phone) but had to comment – this is a powerful story and I am happy you shared it. I am glad that things worked out for Yung and that she became a success story rather than a failure story. It is a testament to the power of mentoring, as well.


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