The three are each second-generation Americans, children of parents who came to Houston and Spring Branch seeking a better life for themselves and their children. Duong, Ho and Ramirez not only anticipate a better life but are looking to help others as well.
For example, Ramirez, who moved here when he was 2-years-old and learned English at school, will be heading to Trinity University to study mechanical engineering. Besides loving to tinker with machines, Ramirez, 18, more specifically hopes to develop an app for high schoolers that makes it easier to adapt and move into new technology.
Or Ho, 18, who will study biology at the University of Texas at Austin then plans to attend pharmacy school. Why? To go into research and development to help find ways to make medicine more affordable.
Then there’s Duong, 18, who will study economics and business at UT-Austin and wants to become a CPA, and maybe help people with their personal finances.
Ramirez said there’s nothing in the Spring Woods curriculum addressing public service but speculates there’s something about Spring Woods that promotes it.
“I think it comes from being at Spring Woods – it’s a very diverse school,” he said. “Maybe it’s from seeing even poorer students be successful.”
All three grew up and attended school in Spring Branch ISD. Ho, for instance, has never been to school anywhere besides the “super block” at Gessner and Hammerly of Tiger Trail PreK Center, the former Westwood Elementary, Spring Oaks Middle School and Spring Woods High School.
Duong attended Terrace Elementary, Spring Oaks Middle and Spring Woods High School, while Ramirez went to Shadow Oaks Elementary, Spring Oaks Middle and Spring Woods High School. Duong’s father, who came to the United States when he was 14, also attended Spring Woods High School.
Their extracurricular activities all include music – Duong playing violin in orchestra; Ramirez playing viola in orchestra; and Ho playing flute in the band. Duong and Ramirez both worked at the school’s newspaper, while Ramirez is also part of the school’s championship debate team.