Students dance for Vietnamese scholarships

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Elvira Mora

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Don’t Arm SUPD
April 17, 2019
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Students dance for Vietnamese scholarships

Suffolk University’s Vietnamese Student Association (VSA) partnered with the New England Intercollegiate Vietnamese Student Association (NEIVSA) to host the 29th Annual Masquerade Ball. The event was held in Suffolk’s Somerset building and has been an annual fundraiser for the Dreams Scholarship, which offers high school seniors of Vietnamese descent an opportunity for higher education in New England.

Carla Huang, president of Suffolk’s Vietnamese Student Association, spearheaded the event’s planning and organization.

“The whole team has been planning since the summer around July or August, and the organization of planning the event was spot on,” said Huang. “This is also a huge opportunity to represent the NEIVSA, as well as Suffolk’s own VSA, to receive a respected reputation. This ball is a way to connect within the community. I would definitely do the event again.”

The objective of the Dreams Scholarship is to give back to the Vietnamese American community in order to promote future leadership among their youth. The scholarship money was raised continuously from year-round fundraisers. The ball raised $3,500. All of the proceeds are going directly toward the scholarship, which will be given out this year.

“I think it went really well and I think it was a much better turnout than the previous years,” said Huang. “We made over $3,500 so that let’s us give five or six scholarships, versus two or three. All of the money that we raised is going to the scholarships for Vietnamese students to go to college.”

Nancy Tran, the president of the NEIVSA, spoke briefly about the mission of the organization. Tran explained how important the event is to benefit Vietnamese high school seniors and help them pursue higher education.

“I am so happy to see so many schools coming together to celebrate this community,” said Tran.

The line for admission into the ball was wrapped around the staircase of the Somerset building. One step through the door, and multicolored lights were seen flashing over smiling faces as excitement permeated the room. Friends came together and embraced each other. The dance floor was packed with more than 250 people dancing to the blaring music provided by DJ LETHO.

Tu Hoang, a Suffolk student, attended the event as a last minute decision to support the cause.

“I think it’s a neat idea to provide a dance and raise money for a student’s education. This event also provides a distraction from the heavy school work that is piling in with finals coming up,” says Hoang.

Many of these students were not Vietnamese students themselves, rather they came with friends to support the Vietnamese community.

The student ball was open to all college and university students from New England. Most of the attendees came from Suffolk, UMass Boston, UMass Lowell, Northeastern, Boston University, Boston College and the University of Connecticut.

Saoirse Connolly, a student at Salem State University, heard about the event through Facebook and other social media platforms.

“I read about it online, and the fact that someone can come to dance and have fun while also raising money is such a great idea,” said Connolly.

Victoria Miller-Browne of Northeastern University was also in attendance with a friend. The event’s fundraising mission was largely responsible for drawing her to attend.

“My friend invited me to come. The idea of a fundraising masquerade ball was really interesting to me,” said Miller-Browne.

In previous years, Huang recalled the event to have a small turnout.

“I think it went really well and I think it was a much better turnout than the previous years when I was an attendee,” said Huang.

The VSA plans to host the NEIVSA’s Annual Masquerade Ball again next year to benefit the Dreams Scholarship and help Vietnamese students fulfill their dreams of pursuing a higher education.

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