Posted Date: 11/20/2020
Bryan Flores and Grace Lam have been named Seniors of the Month for November for Union High School, 6636 S. Mingo Road. Flores is the son of Maria Ruiz and Alejandro Flores of Tulsa. Lam is the daughter of Nancy Le and Thanh Lam of Tulsa.
Flores, a participant in Union’s Early College High School program, has been active in band, Tribe Takeover, Student Leadership Guide program, and National Junior Honor Society, as well as holding part-time jobs outside of school. He has been on the President’s Honor Roll at Tulsa Community College every semester since 2018 and was a National College Match 2020 finalist. He was a Mr. Union 2020 junior court nominee.
“I am involved in the Early College High School program, and I am very passionate about it,” declared Flores, stating, “As a first-generation college student, my parents have always encouraged me to chase my dreams with tenacity, and for this reason, I took on the challenge. With the Early College program, I am being given the opportunity to get on a level playing field with those who may have more opportunities or connections as I am completing an associate degree as well as my high school degree. I also find pride in the Early College program because I know that there are underclassmen who are looking up to us.
“I think it is my responsibility to do my part and show that although the road may be difficult, everything is possible with enough dedication. Another reason I am very passionate about the ECHS program is because of the relationships I have formed over the years. I have become close with people I know will be around for a lifetime, and I have also formed a wonderful connection with a mentor in Mrs. Lisa Witcher (principal of the ECHS program.) She is always readily available to us and no matter how stressed or busy she is, she is always someone we can count on. On behalf of the entire Early College Program, we love our Momma Witch!”
Flores said match classes have made a great impact on his education and credited his teachers for bringing out the best in him, in particular, Sandra Bybee and Rebeckah Peterson. “They are both amazing teachers that bring out the best in all of their students. I have flourished as an individual in their classes, and I have been able to help my peers as I have grown more confident in my own abilities. If it weren’t for their consistent reassurances, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. With their incredible instruction and caring personalities, I have no doubt that the math classes/teachers during my high school career have been the most impactful.
Flores has been accepted into a number of colleges including the University of Oklahoma, Oklahoma State University and the University of Tulsa.
“Right now, I am waiting to hear back from Yale University because of the National College Match,” Flores said. “I want to complete my undergraduate studies in biology and then apply for medical school. After medical school, I hope to match into a pediatric residency as this has always been my dream. Sometime down the road, I would like to open my own private practice in Tulsa, so that I can give back to the community that has given me so much.”
Lam is involved in Asian American Club as co-president, Key Club as vice president, National Honor Society as community liaison, Sustainable U, and served in leadership roles for the Youth Philanthropy Initiative, as well as playing in symphony orchestra. Her honors include being named an AP Scholar with Honors, Superior Ratings Honors at State for Ensemble and Quartet in orchestra.
“Being involved in the Youth Philanthropy Initiative has been the highlight of my high school career,” Lam said. “Through YPI, I was able to develop a philanthropic project called Culture Bridge Tulsa, a real-life simulation that aims to instill more empathy towards immigrants. Being the daughter of two Vietnam War refugees, I’ve witnessed first-hand those struggles they encounter daily and the sacrifices they’ve made to survive in America. My experiences have ignited my passion to help others better understand the immigrant experience through Culture Bridge Tulsa.”
During her time at the High School, Lam said, “Mr. (Darin) Cousens’ AP Chemistry class has made a big impact on my education. The rigor of the class and Mr. Cousens’ relentless pushing of his students resulted in lots of late-night studying and the shedding of many tears, but in hindsight, I’m incredibly grateful for that class has taught me, both academically and about life. Being in his classroom for the past three years has not only shaped me into a better students, but has also helped develop my love of chemistry.”
As for college plans, Lam said, “I don’t know where I want to go college yet, but my plan is to either major in finance or chemistry and pursue a pharmacy degree.”