Aspiring Educator, Page High School Senior Journeyed from Persecution in Vietnam to 2018 Kernodle Scholar
(GREENSBORO, NC) – Ms. Po Rmah (ruh-MAAH), a senior at Page High School, has been named the 2018 Kernodle Scholar by the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro. The prestigious scholarship is named for Guilford County education advocate, the late John R. Kernodle.
Awardees receive $10,000 each year for four years at a North Carolina state school.
It is awarded to one student each year who is pursuing the teaching profession and commits to returning to Guilford County to teach. Awardees receive $10,000 each year for four years at a North Carolina state school.
PHOTO CAPTION: Po Rmah at the Kernodle Scholarship ceremony with her parents, Djoan Rmah and Tona Day, and Walker Sanders, president of the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro.
Po, along with her parents and 6 brothers and sisters, came to Greensboro from Vietnam when she was seven years old. As members of the Montagnard community, they were forced to flee religious and ethnic persecution. The Montagnard (mountain people) are largely Christian and provided support to American forces during the Vietnam War. North Carolina has the largest Montagnard population outside Southeast Asia.
Adjusting to life in the United States was challenging for Po. In her application essay for the scholarship, she recounted her experience as she was thrust into an entirely new way of life, without knowing a word of English. “I will always remember my first day in my first American school. I was very lost and I felt really out of place. No matter how hard I tried to be normal, I was always sticking out from the rest of my classmates.”
Gradually, with the help of her teachers and fellow students, she learned English, made friends and became active in community and school activities, including playing varsity volleyball at Page. Her journey inspired her to become a teacher
“The teachers in my life have made such a difference to me. I know what it feels like to be afraid, to need help, and to be in the dark. I would be honored to give light to kids that feel like that, too.”
Po will attend Western Carolina.
ABOUT THE COMMUNITY FOUNDATION OF GREATER GREENSBORO: The Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro inspires giving, maximizes opportunities, and strengthens communities for present and future generations to create a city where diverse people work together to create a welcoming and thriving place to enrich the lives of all.