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The City Journals

Dance Sterling Scholar Winner at Hunter High

May 05, 2016 05:12PM ● By Bryan Scott

By Natalie Mollinet | [email protected]

West Valley - Huy Tran, a senior at Hunter High School, was selected from many different students from around the state to be the candidate for the Deseret News Sterling Scholar in dance. Huy has an amazing story of how he’s made it to this grand honor from being self-taught to being the only guy in the dance company at Hunter High. 

Huy is actually from Vietnam and moved to the United States when he was four years old. He said coming into West Valley and the U.S. was a culture shock for him. 

“I still remember kindergarten,” Huy said. “It was just taking on a new language, but I caught on pretty fast.” 

Coming from a very conservative background, Huy said it was hard to get into dance classes because his family believed that boys weren’t supposed to dance. 

“It was really hard to get support — that’s why I didn’t have funding for the dance programs,” he said. “I got several scholarships but I had to give them up because of family conflict. They didn’t quite understand.” 

Huy said he has always been kind of the oddball of the family, so fighting the kind of upbringing his family wanted of him always caused strain. Huy has always been involved with art, photography and music and is self-taught at the piano. Because his family didn’t support his dancing, he decided to teach himself. 

“I didn’t have access to studio programs like my friends,” Huy said. “So I primarily learned online.” 

It wasn’t until he got into Kennedy Junior High that he had an actual dance class. He learned to appreciate all forms of dance and see it as more than just entertainment. 

When he got to Hunter High School, he and his friend Andy were the first boys ever to be in Hunter’s dance company. But being the only guy wasn’t unfamiliar to him; he was used to being the only guy in dance and art programs. 

“If I didn’t really love what I do, I would quit,” he said. “It’s really uncommon for guys to be in it. It’s sports; it’s a guy kind of thing. But at the high school level, people appreciate dance a lot more and appreciate the arts and the value of dance.” 

With all the forms of art he’s involved in, he picked dance to compete in for sterling scholar. He said that a few people were set to compete for it but he felt like he might have a chance. 

“I went for dance because it’s my forte,” he said. “All the arts I’ve done I’ve always been passionate.” 

Winning the state sterling scholar has been a big deal for him and he has seen opportunities open up to him, and said that meeting other students from around the state has really been great to see. 

“It was really nerve wracking,” Huy said. “I met some of my competition and everyone was so nice and talented. I wasn’t sure if I was going to win.” 

But when his name was announced as sterling scholar for dance, he felt amazing and was looking forward to what the future held for him in dance and other forms of art he has been involved in. 

“I just want to thank the sterling scholar judges for such an amazing opportunity, and for them to recognize not just me, but the other people who are going to make an influence in the world of dance.” 

Huy plans to go into business when he gets into college, but said he would still like the opportunity to continue to dance in college, and being recognized as a sterling scholar really helps.