Thi Huong Duong "Katie"

Success Story


In early 2020, Thi Huong Duong Nguyen arrived from Vietnam. One of the first things she acquired was a nickname, Katie, that captured the hopefulness and zest she had for her new life in the United States. 


Katie earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Hotel Management and had a successful career in Vietnam. This experience meant she knew it was important for her to learn English in order to be successful in the United States. Shortly after she settled in her home in McKinney with her husband and six year old son, Katie began searching for ways to improve her English. Luckily, Katie received a flyer about the CollinAEL ESL program. Once Katie realized the classes were free she immediately enrolled in ESL classes.  

Unfortunately, just as Katie was building her momentum her education was temporarily interrupted due to the COVID related shelter-in place orders. Katie was disappointed because she was very excited both about learning English and her career pathway. Then, just when Katie was ready to give up hope, she was notified that online ESL classes were being offered. She was very apprehensive about the online classes because she was inexperienced with online learning, and was unfamiliar with the online platform being used. After receiving encouragement from her family she decided to give it a go. 

Katie surprised herself because she was able to familiarize herself with the technology quickly. She wasn’t as nervous about her online class because she realized it was new not only to her, but also her classmates and instructor as well. 


Katie remained determined to stay on her career pathway even if it meant she would have to continue online learning. She began attending four classes, four days a week and in her spare time studied independently. She continued to zoom along her career pathway. She started researching colleges and began the enrollment process. She tested out of her current ESL class and is going to continue her adult education classes to prepare her for college.