FHS senior works hard to reach goals

Since Prathna “Brian” Kang and his family moved from Cambodia to Texas two and a half years ago, he’s been very busy at school and work while planning for his future.
As a teenager in Cambodia, he had already completed some high school and enjoyed playing soccer. His aunt moved to Austin 10 years before and sponsored Kang’s family to move to the United States.
Upon arriving in Texas, Kang knew a little bit of English, but lost credit for high school classes he had already completed.
“I was supposed to be a senior in Cambodia,” he said.
But he worked hard and was able to complete two years of school in one year’s time.
Jennifer Killough, the teacher who nominated him as FHS senior of the month, said, “His work ethic is unmatched.”
Kang said he was put in English as a Second Language classes, where most other students spoke Spanish. Pride was evident on his face when he stated he is no longer in the ESL classes.
During his junior year, Kang worked two jobs at McDonald’s and Tokyo Steakhouse so he could help his family to buy a home. Since they purchased a home, he has been able to cut down to just one job at the Tokyo Steakhouse. He continues to work to take some of the pressure off of his mom, Kannari, and dad, Thai.
Working in addition to attending school has been a mixed blessing, Kang said. While he’s glad to have more time to study now that he has just one job, he said working really helped him to learn English by interacting with others. It was “better than sitting at home,” he said.
Kang hopes to be a pediatrician. Last week, he passed the exam to get his certified nursing assistant license in Texas. He hopes to work as a CNA while he first studies at South Plains College to get more nursing education.
Kang said he misses his friends and his brother, who was already an adult and was not allowed to move with the Kangs to the U.S. They are now working to get him into the U.S. as well.
This summer the family will return to Cambodia to visit him.
“I plan on eating a lot of food in Cambodia,” he said with a grin.
While he may miss his native country, Kang said there are benefits to living here.
“I think we have a lot of opportunity to support family. We have better jobs,” he said.

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