Education Perspectives

EP 21 Truc Nguyen - Student, Founder Possibility Productions

November 10, 2023 Liza Holland Season 1 Episode 21
Education Perspectives
EP 21 Truc Nguyen - Student, Founder Possibility Productions
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Show Notes Transcript


 Truc Nguyen

Founder Possibility Productions

FCPS Dept of Innovation Intern

Quote of the Podcast – 

“Nothing lasts” I made up this quote and I love it because it is that grey area between optimism and pessimism.

Introduction of Guest BIO – 

Truc was born in Vietnam and lived in Texas until 2018. She is currently a senior at Tates Creek High School going through the Opportunity Middle College program. She loves to write and is planning to major in business. She is Founder and Executive Producer of Possibility Productions and is currently an intern at the Fayette County Public Schools Office of Innovation. Her dream is to eventually write a screenplay that makes it to the screen.


Agents of Change: Leaders/Innovators

  • 30,000 ft. view – Why do we, as a society invest in education?
  • Tell us about your education journey?
  • How would you like to see school change?
  • Possibility Productions
  • Tell us a story or favorite memory about your time in school?
  • What are the biggest challenges or obstacles you face as a student?
  • What would you like decision makers to know?

Podcast/book shoutouts

Instagram and YouTube @possibilityproductions2023

Support the show

Education Perspectives is edited by Shashank P at

Intro and Outro by Dynamix Productions

Liza Holland [00:00:02]:

Welcome to education perspectives. I am your host, Liza Holland. This is a podcast that explores the role of education in our society from a variety of lenses. Education needs to evolve to meet the needs of today and the future. Solving such huge issues requires understanding.

Join me as we begin to explore the many act is of education.

Liza Holland [00:00:28]:

Truc Nguyen was born in Vietnam and lived in Texas until 2018. She is currently a senior at Tates Creek High School going through the Opportunity Middle College program. She loves to write And is planning to major in business. She is the founder and executive producer of Possibility Productions And is currently an intern at the Fayette County Public School's Office of innovation. Her dream is to eventually write a screenplay That makes it to the screen. So, True Wynne, welcome to Education Perspectives. So very glad to have you here.

Truc Nguyen [00:01:04]:

I'm so glad to be here.

Liza Holland [00:01:05]:

Awesome. So first question is the same to every guest. Tell me from a very 30,000 foot view, why do you think that we as invest in education.

Truc Nguyen [00:01:18]:

I feel like education has taken us so far already. We're the type of, like animals suggest, like, do what works for us, and we've seen that education has worked for us. I mean, we invented the wheel That led to electricity, that led to where we are now. We just we invest in it because we know it works.

Liza Holland [00:01:37]:

Makes sense to me, absolutely. And I think an educated populace definitely adds to a a more rich society.

Truc Nguyen [00:01:45]:


Liza Holland [00:01:46]:

So tell us a little bit about your education journey. How I know that you just moved here fairly recently. Tell me about your experience in education so far.

Truc Nguyen [00:01:56]:

So I was born in Vietnam until I was 4 years old, and I didn't do any occasion there that I remember. I might have attend, like, one day of classes, but then I was taken to America in Marillo, Texas is a smaller city, and I presume most of my education there until 2018. And I really loved it there. I feel like The education system there was very personal. It was very like, everyone was very hands on. Maybe it's because I was there for elementary most of my life, But everything felt very welcoming there. And then I moved here in 2018 to attend 7th grade, which is kinda very awkward Good. It's like 6th grade, 7th grade, 8th grade, and then you just got thrown right in the middle.

Liza Holland [00:02:41]:

That's an awkward age to be dumped into a big change.

Truc Nguyen [00:02:45]:

Another thing is that's when COVID started to, like, pick up. So it was, like, a change, then another change, and then it was crazy for me. It was, like, I would say the worst time of my life. It was insane.

Liza Holland [00:02:57]:

So you hadn't had a chance to really meet a lot of people and that sort of stuff before that big wrench got thrown into your education journey. Jeez.

Truc Nguyen [00:03:07]:

When I was back in Texas, I would describe myself as, like, I didn't meet, like, quick, but I was kind of, like, able to, mingle with everyone. And when I moved here, my educational journey turned more into, like, I would be classified as a nerd because, I mean, that's all they saw on surface level. You know? They saw me studying because, like, I wasn't able to connect with anyone here because it was so sudden. And so for me, it became more like school was my only focus because that's is the only thing that I wanted to focus on because there was no other option. So I really started to struggle a little bit with cation, which is ironic because all that's all I was focusing on, but I started to lose motivation. I was like, what's the point of doing all this when there's so many other people was so many more resources to me and so many connections and stuff that I don't have. Like, I could be good at this technically, But I'm not good at this, like, through in the real world.

Liza Holland [00:04:05]:

Well, that's a real challenge. So what pathway did you take to try to meet that?

Truc Nguyen [00:04:10]:

So towards the end of quarantine, quarantine was kinda, like, really good for me in some way. It allowed me to really explore who I was felt like any external factors or I could just control my environment. You know? And because of that, towards the end of quarantine, there was someone who reached out to me, one of my friends that wasn't my friend at the time. They're just like, hey. We're all doing Zoom because class, like, went back into session in in person, but I just decided to stay over Zoom because I was so nervous and all that. And I decided to go on a limb. And I was like, you know what? It's now or never. Like, here is a changing point.

Truc Nguyen [00:04:47]:

Like, everything COVID is going away kinda. So I was like, I gotta do this. So we met up, And because of that 1 step, I think that's really where, like, it put me where I am now, just taking that 1 step.

Liza Holland [00:05:00]:

Isn't that exciting? And isn't it neat that you had 1 person who maybe didn't know you all that well who made that outreach that could make all the difference because, boy, you are a superstar now.

Truc Nguyen [00:05:12]:

It's very flattering.

Liza Holland [00:05:13]:

That's exciting. No. I've really enjoyed working with you. We work together at the County Public Schools Office of Innovation. And so that's one of the reasons why I wanted you to be on here because I'm so impressed what you're doing so far. Tell me a little bit about before we leave this topic, I know that you're involved in Opportunity Middle College. What's that like for you? How where are you spending your days? Are you happy with the program? Etcetera, etcetera.

Truc Nguyen [00:05:40]:

So that opportunity, Middle College kinda like, I felt like it was kinda destined if I was gonna make it very, like, cliche, but I was friends with a group of people who were talking about doing this program. And I was friends with another group of people who is gonna do this program, and those happened to be the only 2 groups of people We're gonna do the program in my entire school.

Liza Holland [00:06:01]:

Oh, wow.

Truc Nguyen [00:06:02]:

I didn't realize what they were talking about, so I joined it on a whim because Why is both my friends groups talking about this? I joined it, and it's, like, the best decision I've ever made. Because if I did not do that, Again, I wouldn't be here. I wouldn't have the time to be doing all this. I would still like being in classes right now.

Liza Holland [00:06:21]:

Yeah. So for those, who are not familiar with it, tell us a little bit about what opportunity middle college does for you. What opportunities does that open up, and what are you doing with it now?

Truc Nguyen [00:06:32]:

So Opportunity Middle College is kinda like a dual credit program, but mostly, I stay on campus. I'm basically a college student. I attend classes with college students. I have schedules that are based on me, classes that are based on me. I still have to do, like, high school requirement classes, But luckily, I joined very like, in a very lucky year where they're able to pay off my associate's education too.

Liza Holland [00:06:57]:

Oh, fantastic.

Truc Nguyen [00:06:58]:

So when I graduate next year in 2024, I will have my high school diploma and my associates. So then I could just transfer straight to UK or any college that I pick, and then I would only have to pursue, like, 2 to 3 more years of for my bachelor's.

Liza Holland [00:07:14]:

That's amazing, and what an incredible opportunity. Has it been difficult for you to transition? I know college life and college classes are very different than what you experience in high school, but how's that transition been for you?

Truc Nguyen [00:07:27]:

For me, I felt like it was easier in some way. Because in high school, It was more like, okay. You get assignments. If you finish the assignments, you have to wait. You know? Mhmm. You just really move on your own. You just gotta. So most of my high school days were spent just doing assignments of other classes in different classes because I just wanted to get, you know, time moving.

Truc Nguyen [00:07:48]:

But now it's like when I'm there in a class, I am there for a reason. I have a goal. I have an objective, and I have work outside that's actually challenging for me. Because in high school, I've never had homework outside of class ever. So the transition at that part was, like, kinda hard, but overall, I really like the environment way more because I feel more in control.

Liza Holland [00:08:14]:

Nice. So that kinda leads us into our next question about how would you like to see school change? Do you think that high school ought to adopt a little bit of more of a program that gives students more options and control?

Truc Nguyen [00:08:28]:

Definitely. I feel like that's is such a big motivator and why a student wants to go to school because most of the time, a student goes to school because they have to. Law makes sense, you know, and their parents make some, and I just feel like we just need to really prioritize what the student wants And really make it to where all the time that they are spending in school is valuable to them because so many of my friends are seniors now. They don't understand why they have to go to school anymore. They got the curriculum. They are on their way to diploma, and that's what school tells them that is the end goal, a diploma. And I don't think that should be the end goal even though, like, you know, a diploma is nice. I feel like the knowledge that they attained that will use in their future, like, endeavors should be the end goal.

Liza Holland [00:09:19]:

Absolutely. What do you think teachers could do or schools could do to kind of help to spread that message to these students that are not getting it?

Truc Nguyen [00:09:30]:

I think teachers and schools should just learn to accept more crazy ideas. You know what I mean? Like, some out of the wind idea. Like, You might be thinking, hey. This is a high school student. Like, what do they know? They're just a big dreamer, but, I mean, that's all it takes, really. Is a big dream, you know, and just for someone to support that and just uplift that is all that I, like, want teachers and, like, just educators to do is just to uplift those ideas to the point where it just creates motivation for those students too, even if they can't pursue those things in school, they can pursue it out of school and somehow bring it back into their educational lives.

Liza Holland [00:10:11]:

That is so smart. That is so incredibly smart, and finding that spark that really interests students. I think you are so right on track. And, is kinda part of your long term goal here, but you have a big dream of your own that you are making a reality. Tell us about Possibility Productions.

Truc Nguyen [00:10:30]:

Awesome productions is literally my baby. At this point, I just spend so much time on it, and I just wanna see it grow and become something that I am proud of. And as of right now, it is growing, and I'm going to be so honest. I was losing motivation For the longest time, probably in the, like, last month or so because all the things I've been doing have been behind the scenes, And Foster Productions is like a media production company. You know, the goal is to publish. It's to show people, And all the things have just been me just doing documents, me just, like, texting, emailing, and it has been taken a toll on me. But recently, we've been increasing our members actually going out and showing our face, putting, like, a face to the name, and just Giving people some insight into what we do, which is, like, showing success beyond the classroom And just showing opportunities beyond the classroom walls and how students are just missing out on these opportunities because they're only exposed to whatever They are exposed to already in the classroom. So I'm really excited about it, and I have a lot of plans for it in the future.

Liza Holland [00:11:47]:

So if someone is listening and is interested or has a student that's interested or something like that, what do they need to do, and what kinds of of things would they be doing if they came on board the team Possibility Productions?

Truc Nguyen [00:11:59]:

So it is very easy. I made it as easy as possible to join Just to, like, make sure that everyone is able to join, you just have to go to the Instagram, Posler Productions, 2023, and then you just click on the link. You apply. It's a Google forms. It will literally take you under 2 minutes. Then we do a short interview with you just to make sure that this is what you want. It's more like to show you that this is what you want instead of you showing us why you're qualified, if that makes sense. Yeah.

Truc Nguyen [00:12:31]:

I just wanted to make sure that this podcast productions become something that students who want to do so many things at once can just come together in possible productions and just do all those. Because I didn't wanna cap everyone's dreams. You know? Mhmm. If you wanna explore, like, sustainability in Lexington, you can Capture an event on that. If you wanna do hip hop dancing, capture your band that. If you like sports, just pitch it to a meeting, and we'll try and make it happen for you. Basically it.

Liza Holland [00:13:04]:

That is so cool. So it doesn't necessarily have to be somebody who is, you know, wanting to do media production per day, they could come to you with an idea and help to kinda manage that project or something, and you can pair them with other folks that might be willing to cover their topic area.

Truc Nguyen [00:13:24]:

Yep. And even when they pitch an idea and do a subject that's not media, They're also helping other people like them because we'll make a video about it, and then anyone can access that video. So yeah.

Liza Holland [00:13:37]:

Oh, I think that's awesome. So if you close your eyes and think 3 years from now, because, obviously, you're in a big transition, what is possibility productions look like?

Truc Nguyen [00:13:48]:

I want to this is I'm I'm such a dreamer, but I want branches, And I want to become an alumni, if you know what I mean.

Liza Holland [00:13:59]:

Like Yeah.

Truc Nguyen [00:14:01]:

So I wanna take my spot. Like, I don't wanna be like, Okay. This is my special slot. No one's ever gonna take it. I really want people to take my slot and just, like, feel, like, the passion that I have for this And just start their own thing. Like, I even at my promotion at Eastside today, I was like, if you wanna start something inside of Prosper Protections Or just, like, coworker possible productions. I am open to it. Like, I just want people to feel the entrepreneurship and the spirit of that.

Liza Holland [00:14:32]:

You know, that is so neat, and it's it's kind of like an incubator then so that you can, you know, maybe have a bunch of spin offs and all that kind of thing too. And I I have to give you a a head nod there too because that is a great leadership trait to want somebody to be able to take your job. It really is to be able to To provide an environment where people can aspire without fear. That is just really, really cool. So tell us a story or a favorite memory about your time in school or about your time in developing this Possibility Productions.

Truc Nguyen [00:15:07]:

Okay. For school, this memory is not really related to FCPS, but, like

Liza Holland [00:15:12]:

That's okay. Okay. It is school, and it's learning.

Truc Nguyen [00:15:15]:

In Texas, I had this gym teacher towards elementary, all my elementary years. His name was mister Lemley, And I feel like just being a student really, like, made me who I am because it's a gym class. Mhmm. You know? So you expected all you're gonna do is do a bunch of exercise and some stuff, but he was very weird in a way Where he was very intrigued with, like, science and math and everything, and he was he blew my mind in 2nd grade. I think it was younger than that. I don't really remember. But he told me there were negative numbers, and I was like, well, woah. You're moving a little too fast there.

Truc Nguyen [00:15:55]:

Like, would be these negative numbers. But he basically, we just give us so much more information than we were getting in our actual classes That it made me look forward to his class because he didn't make it all about, hey. Let's just play dodgeball. Let's just do that. He valued both, like, health and, like, knowledge and all that. And for me, I was very shy as a kid. So when I saw that he valued that And he wasn't all like, oh my god. If you're good at sports, then you're my favorite.

Truc Nguyen [00:16:26]:

Or, like, he was like I don't know how to say it, but He really changed my perspective on how you can be bold. You know? You don't have to be one of the other.

Liza Holland [00:16:35]:

Yeah. And that, you know, that is so neat because I That really resonates with me as a story because I remember back in the day, but I had a A metal shop teacher, and I had never dealt with anything like that in the you know, in my past. I just had never even been exposed to a lot of the work that we were doing, and he became one of the neatest, most interesting mentors about just real life and how to approach it and all that kind of stuff, and I just he's one of my strongest memories as a teacher, and it it's really shows that you don't have to you can find mentors and you can find people that can change your life in all different types of areas, and it doesn't even have to be a teacher. It could be a janitor in the school or something like that. But having someone that you can connect with has a lasting impression, and that's really neat.

Truc Nguyen [00:17:32]:

Yeah. It made me, like, feel like teachers were humans, if that sounds weird. Like, usually

Liza Holland [00:17:37]:

No. It's not. That's awesome, especially at that young age.

Truc Nguyen [00:17:41]:

Yeah. Because I just imagine they slept in their classrooms. Just adding some personality to it. It just made me feel, like, connected. You know?

Liza Holland [00:17:52]:

Absolutely. Absolutely. And it's neat that that that relationship and it can help you get out of your shell, I know you were saying you you felt like you were really, really shy, but it gave you an opportunity and maybe a an example to follow As far as being a little bit more bold, that's a great story. That is an absolutely great story. You know, I talk to employers a lot, and They talk about the need for lifelong learners. They need for people to be able to learn, unlearn, and relearn. And so much of what you're saying here really supports that kind of ongoing inquiry and the importance of the knowledge, not just checking the boxes As far as as school is concerned, that's so cool. So a lot of things really have aligned well for you.

Liza Holland [00:18:44]:

But tell me, as a student, what do you feel? And it doesn't have to be about you. It could be about friends, things that you hear about. What are the biggest challenges or obstacles that you face as a student.

Truc Nguyen [00:18:56]:

I feel like I have so many things going on. And it's, again, cliche to say, but I think most of our weaknesses as students is we're too ambitious. Even though nowadays, people might say that students are getting lazier, you know, technology and all that, But as a student, I see that most of the people around me and me, myself, were too ambitious. We just wanna get out in the real world. We just wanna do things. We just wanna achieve things. And because of that, sometimes we just get paralyzed Because we don't know what to choose, when to choose, where to choose, because we've never had the chance to do all that before. We're mostly just like, you get a paper, you do it.

Truc Nguyen [00:19:38]:

So when we actually have the chance to choose something, we don't know how to attack it. So that's our biggest challenge. Like, when do we decide how do we do things, and how do we decide it? If you know what I mean? Like

Liza Holland [00:19:53]:

No. I know exactly what you mean. And in in fact, the effort that you and I are collaborating on with Fayette County specifically addresses that kind of issue. Yes. Because it's looking at process as opposed to the content. It looks at deeper learning and how to make critical discernments and how to be creative thinkers and how to have that choice at an early age so that you work through the pros, the cons, the unintended consequences, All of those types of things in a safe environment where you can be supported. So it actually makes me feel really good about the work that you and I are doing because that's the missing link That should help to address that particular obstacle and problem. Yeah.

Liza Holland [00:20:47]:

That is really cool.

Truc Nguyen [00:20:49]:

It also makes me feel like, for me, There's always been 2 sides to me. Like, I my creative side where I wanna do media and and then my more, like, logical side where I going to business, and I just feel like it was so hard for me to pick 1, and now I'm doing both. So I just want everyone to have the choice that I had to just, like, say, screw it and pick both and just be You instead of being 1 or the other.

Liza Holland [00:21:18]:

I think that is just magical, and that's gonna be one of my quotes to the podcast that, That I post later on, true, because I think the kids are under a tremendous amount of pressure to pick something. Pick one thing, and you just go for it. And my career is a perfect example. You can do lots of different things over time, and you can combine them and you can make them interesting. And you don't have to decide on just 1, and it's not for the rest of your life either. So that super pressure to decide and to know, I think it's misplaced. And why not go and explore different things? And you don't have to do one thing forever. You can do something now for the next year or 2 and try something else in the years following.

Liza Holland [00:22:09]:

I really love how you have managed to Be able to really take a look at those 2 sides of yourself and find an opportunity in this entrepreneurial work With Possibility Productions because you are very much supporting other students in their journey that way. So that's exciting. That's exciting, and I love the way that you've, you know, you've you've kinda solved your own problems, but it's really relevant to all the other kids that are out there as well. Students, young people, shouldn't say kids anymore.

Truc Nguyen [00:22:40]:


Liza Holland [00:22:41]:

Yes. There you go. Scholars. I love that. I love that. Okay. So good conversation. One of the things that I did in putting together Education Perspectives was To try to bridge this gap about what people don't know, especially decision makers.

Liza Holland [00:23:01]:

They don't often hear from students. They don't often hear all the different perspectives that are out there when they're making their decisions. From your perspective, what would you like decision makers to know? And it could be principals. It could be teachers. It could be legislators. What do you think are maybe challenges that students have that people should know about?

Truc Nguyen [00:23:25]:

I feel like So many decisions are based on a mass, and it is rarely taken into account the individual. And because of that, so many things are overlooked. And even if they solve the issue of the mass, it's not really solved because everyone still has other issues that they hold dear to themselves, and I feel like decision makers should just any change is good change, And they could just start small instead of attacking mass and getting overwhelmed and then just feeling, like, all the efforts have been waste. Because even right now, I feel like this is a small change that we're doing. Mhmm. It's like getting me as a student just voicing out about this. It's small, but I feel like it will go really far. So yeah.

Liza Holland [00:24:14]:

Well, I really appreciate that, and I feel the same way. That whole start small to be able to grow big is a really good way to get out of this paralyzed feeling about, okay, we're planning and we're thinking and this this is so massive. How are we gonna change? And you just start. You just start 1 foot in front of the other and do things like you're doing with Possibility Productions and we're doing together with deeper learning. I think that's really insightful. Thank you. Absolutely. So is there anything that we haven't talked about today that you would like to bring up at this point?

Truc Nguyen [00:24:52]:

Not really. I feel like we covered most of it.

Liza Holland [00:24:55]:

Okay. Well, I just wanna thank you again so very, very much for stepping out and doing this, and I really value you as a collaborator and look forward to watching you for years to come because I know you're gonna do Thanks.

Truc Nguyen [00:25:10]:

Definitely. You've become, like, one of my inspirations. So I feel very honored to be on your show, And I really hope that you could be on the other end of this when we start our own podcast.

Liza Holland [00:25:22]:

Oh, I would love that. That would be so cool. We have a mutual admiration society Yes. Thanks so much for being on education perspectives too.

Truc Nguyen [00:25:32]:

Thank you, Fran.

Liza Holland [00:25:34]:

Thank you you so much for listening to this episode of education perspectives.

Liza Holland [00:25:38]:

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Liza Holland [00:25:41]:

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