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Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month Student Spotlight: Angelina Tang, Culinary Arts

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month.  EASTERN celebrated by interviewing students of Asian heritage who are leaders in their programs. Today, we spotlight Angelina Tang, a first-year student in EASTERN’s Culinary Arts program and a junior at Upper Dublin High School.  At EASTERN’s Awards Night on May 22, Angelina received the Culinary Arts Alumni Tool of the Trade Award, the Director’s Award, and the Straight A Award.

When Angelina thinks about Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, she is reminded of Chinatown in Philadelphia and how beautifully represented her community is in the area. "I am Vietnamese, but it is wonderful to be associated with Chinatown and its great community," said Angelina. "Chinatown is such an iconic and important place in the city."

Angelina’s father immigrated to America in eighth grade as the oldest of four children in his family, and his priority was helping take care of his younger siblings so his parents could work. Angelina’s mother lived in Vietnam and came to the U.S. when they were married.

Knowing how hard her paternal grandparents worked to take care of their family is a motivator for Angelina. “Knowing how hard they had to work and knowing about their struggles inspires me to give 100 percent to everything I do – inside and outside of school,” said Angelina. “I know it is a privilege to be here at EASTERN doing what I love to do.  My parents overcame a lot of struggles to get us where we are today, and I am so grateful to them.”

A love of the culinary industry runs in Angelina’s family. Her maternal grandmother owns a successful seafood company in Vietnam. Angelina notes that for her entire life, her family has always eaten dinner together. She was surprised in ninth grade when she found out that this is not the case in all families. "Food brings people together," said Angelina. "We have made so many memories eating and talking together as a family. We eat a lot of Vietnamese food at home, and I am happy that my parents ensure our culture remains a part of our home life."

Angelina has a cousin named Christina who has severe food allergies. Angelina is often searching for recipes that she can make for her and her cousin to enjoy. “She is so brave and inspires me to keep researching recipes for her.”

Next year after Angelina graduates from Upper Dublin High School and EASTERN, her family will be taking a trip to Vietnam.  She is excited because she hasn’t been there since she was in fourth grade.   Her dream is to attend Johnson and Wales University for Culinary Sustainability, as she always tries to be environmentally conscious in the kitchen.  Her dream job would be to teach Culinary Arts at EASTERN someday.