Olympia High alumnus leaves his mark on media center
| 8:54 p.m. September 24, 2014
West Orange Times & Observer
ORLANDO — He is employed at Universal Orlando, working on his Master’s degree in molecular biology and microbiology at the University of Central Florida, and helping out as a UCF teacher’s assistant.
And since 2004, when he was a freshman at Olympia High School, Ocoee resident David Nguyen has logged about 100 hours per year — or roughly 1,000 hours to date — as a volunteer at the high school’s media center.
The humble, 25-year-old student says he continues to put in many hours there as a way of saying “thank you” to Nancy Bardoe, a library media specialist at Olympia High.
“Mrs. Bardoe is a very busy person,” Nguyen said. “She has spent a lot of time mentoring students in high school, and she has made a big impact on helping me succeed in high school and beyond. I want to volunteer a few hours each week to help her and the media center.
“I want to give back to her for her mentoring, leadership and guidance for the past many years.”
In addition to his volunteer work, Nguyen left an indelible mark on the 13-year-old media center, 4301 S. Apopka Vineland Road, last June.
That’s when he gave the facility about $1,600 in grant money from the Universal Orlando Foundation. Nguyen’s volunteer workload far surpassed the 52 annual volunteer hours at a nonprofit organization that the foundation required of grant applicants.
Bardoe chose to use the grant money for a new window marquee at the media center.
“She thought it would make the media center a more welcoming place and stand out more on Apopka-Vineland Road,” Nguyen said.
The marquee includes close-up photos of a computer keyboard, which bookend two pictures of shelved, handsome-bound books. It also includes the words, “Media Center,” and the school’s emblem, which highlights academics, arts and athletics.
The drafting students in Sylvia Leschnik-D’Torres’ class at Olympia High helped design this permanent display. Besides more clearly identifying the media center, the marquee represents what the center stands for: technology, computers and the joy of reading, Bardoe said.
“David is amazing,” she said. “We would never have had anything as nice as (the marquee) if not for all of the volunteer work he’s done and the Universal Orlando Foundation.”
Nguyen has been instrumental in many aspects of the media center, including textbook and library book circulation and inventory, she said.
“He also does a lot of filing. He’s like an Excel guru,” Bardoe said. “This year, we had to go to new a ID system. He formatted all of the new ID cards for students and staff.”
After graduating from Olympia in 2008, Nguyen earned a Bachelor’s degree in molecular biology and microbiology from UCF in 2012.
He anticipates earning his Master’s degree from UCF next year, and then he plans to enroll in medical school. Nguyen said his No. 1 choice for med school is the University of Florida, and that UCF also is a top consideration.