CSU, Chico News

Hearst/CSU Trustees’ Award Honors Future Teacher

Date: 09-25-2009

Kathleen McPartland
Public Affairs

Ger Thao, who is pursuing her teaching credential through the Integrated Teaching Core program, has received the prestigious 2009 William R. Hearst/CSU Trustee’s Award for Outstanding Achievement.

The Trustees’ Award provides financial support to students who show superior academic performance, community service and personal accomplishments in the face of personal hardship and challenges.

Thao was born in Thailand to Hmong parents and immigrated to the United States at an early age. She started kindergarten in Gridley, not speaking any English. With the assistance of her teachers and the encouragement of her family, Ger not only learned English, but had a distinguished high school academic career and received a President’s Scholar award upon her enrollment as a freshman at California State University, Chico.

Thao participated in the TRIO programs while she was in middle school and then high school. TRIO programs are educational opportunity outreach programs supported by the U.S. Department of Education. She continues to serve as a peer tutor and as a facilitator of workshops for Upward Bound students and parents. She recently was chair of the Asian Graduation Celebration committee and takes an active role in local community events, including an annual Hmong festival.

“Education is my first priority,” said Thao. “I’d like to be a role model for young girls from traditional Hmong backgrounds.” She plans to become an elementary school teacher. She believes that “a teacher can shape a child, and one child can shape the world.”

The previous awardees from CSU, Chico are Marycarmen Rosales (2008), Kevin Brady (2007), Anna Sorensen (2006), Elizabeth Coudright (2004), Ben Seigler (2003), Diana Fazlic (2002), Patty Cotter (2001), Aimee Webb (2000), Lynn Wirt (1996), Kelly Baylor (1995), and David Ware (1993).