On a mid-May Wednesday evening, a group of smiling Bright Scholar students casually gather in a meeting room in the COV offices. Earlier in the school year, they converted the space into a makeshift studio. They arrive before 8 pm broadcast time. The group reviews last-minute details. Pham Mai Thao, an energetic and friendly rising junior at Da Nang University, leads them in preparation for their radio live stream.
Lounging in comfy chairs, the students enjoy this time of connecting and sharing after a long day of attending classes and studying. They benefit informally from hanging out and sharing their lives and formally because they learn and practice new skills in teamwork, writing, editing, and public communicating. The live stream grew from Pham Mai Thao’s idea to bring them together for an out-of-classroom activity. When she isn’t studying economics, Thao loves to spend time with her fellow classmates.
COV awarded Thao a Bright Scholars university scholarship following her successful participation since 6th grade in our Study Steps Tutoring and Life Skills program. Thao lives with her single mom, who works as a hospital janitor, and younger sister. Her mom says, “ Without the support of COV, Thao would never have done so well in school or go to university.”
Ever since passing her university entrance exams, Thao has made an impact in the Bright Scholars program most notably the live stream activity. Thao especially shined in the episode she narrated about her Study Steps cohort, our first all-girls group, and shared that 24 of the 25 graduated high school! Of those, 15 entered university, and 5 chose a vocational school. In addition to the live stream, Thao serves as the Students’ Union Business Club’s Vice President of Operations. As a thank you to COV she also volunteered to ride in our virtual Cycling Out Child Poverty fundraising campaign in spring 2021.