Doan wins Natchez essay contest

Published 12:06 am Thursday, August 4, 2011

ERIC SHELTON | THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT Cathedral Elementary School teacher Melissa Vaughan congratulates her former student Nancy Doan Wednesday afternoon at Cathedral for winning an essay contest sponsored by the Daughters of the American Revolution.

NATCHEZ — Seventh grader Nancy Doan has been lauded for her knowledge of American History, but her personal history lies in another hemisphere.

Doan, who won the American Revolution history essay contest sponsored by the Daughters of the American Revolution Natchez chapter, is an excellent student of American history and also a teacher of her family’s Vietnamese culture, her sixth-grade teacher Melissa Vaughan said.

Vaughan said Doan sometimes teaches her classmates at Cathedral School about the country of Vietnam when the class learns about cultures.

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“When we discuss cultures (in class), she always tells us (about) Vietnam,” Vaughan said. “It’s very interesting.”

Doan is a true Natchez native. She was born here, but her parents moved from Vietnam to Natchez 14 years ago, two years before she was born.

She visits Vietnam every summer to see her grandparents, aunts uncles and cousins, Doan said.

Doan said she and her 7-year-old sister, Laura, sometimes translate for her mother who speaks little English.

“I was confused when I was little between (languages),” Doan said.

But Doan said this summer on her trip to Vietnam she spoke English with a few older cousins who were learning English in school.

The biggest difference Doan said she notices between Natchez and Vietnam are the insects.

“There’s less mosquitoes here,” Doan said.

A purple fruit with a white inside, perhaps a dragon fruit, is Doan’s favorite treat to eat in Vietnam and one she has not ever seen in the states, she said.

Vaughan said Doan occasionally sees a tutor to help her with translations, but she is an excellent student.

“She’s a wonderful student, very conscientious and always goes above and beyond (in the classroom),” Vaughan said.

Doan said she was surprised to learn she had won first place at her school and in Natchez for the essay she wrote on Paul Revere.

“I was very surprised and relieved,” Doan said.

Vaughan said the students researched Revere’s time period and story in her classroom.

The exercise gave her an opportunity to teach her students how to structure an essay and write a bibliography, Vaughan said.

After a summer spent learning to swim and visiting her family in Vietnam, Doan said Wednesday she was ready for the first day of seventh grade today.

Doan also has big plans for the $40 prize she received for winning the DAR contest.

“I think I’m going to use it wisely,” Doan said.

Doan is the daughter of Vinh and Trang Doan, and the family lives in Fayette.