Sean Nguyen lives in the present, is excited about the future and knows that his standing in life means much more than success on a tennis court.
That’s why the Blue Springs South High School senior, who was The Examiner’s Tennis Player of the Year in 2019, can’t wait to exchange a racquet for a stethoscope.
In the fall, he will enter UMKC’s prestigious medical school program that allows students to choose an undergraduate major and earn their bachelor’s degree and medical school degree in six years.
During the first two years of the program, three-fourths of a student's time is dedicated to the arts and sciences to fulfill bachelor degree requirements, while one-fourth is spent in medical school coursework.
“I’m as excited about entering UMKC’s six-year program as I was playing tennis at South,” Nguyen said. “It was always my dream to go to UMKC and that dream comes true this fall.”
While Nguyen has earned his place among the best tennis players in the history of Blue Springs South, his philanthropic nature has helped him shine away from the court.
He organized and hosted a doubles tennis tournament that raised $1,500, with the proceeds going to Uplift (www.uplift.org), a homeless outreach program that helps individuals in the metro area.
And he dreams of the day that he can impact even more lives when he graduates from UMKC with his medical degree.
“When I was 12, I was volunteering at a homeless shelter, and I will never forget this little girl who had this ragged doll. She wanted a new doll, and I wanted to help her so much – but I was just 12,” Nguyen said.
“So, when I was 16, I was thinking about a way I could help people. I volunteered at Centerpoint Medical Center, where I worked in the emergency room. When you see the looks on individuals’ faces, you just want to do something to help – get them a snack, a cup of water, maybe a blanket if they are cold.
“Then I remembered that little girl from the homeless shelter, and I thought there has to be a way to help homeless people.”
The honor roll student also recalled some of the stories his father told him about his early days when he escaped war-torn Vietnam and came to the United States.
“My dad was homeless for a while, and I still think about that little homeless girl, so I really want to help people any way I can,” Nguyen said.
“I believe the best way for me to make an impact is as a doctor, and that’s going to happen when I graduate. I can’t wait!
“And I’m still going to play some tennis. There is talk of some kind of an informal state tennis tournament this summer, since all spring sports were canceled and I’m going to look for an intramural team at UMKC.
“You know me – I’ll keep busy.”
And keep busy looking for ways to make a difference.