July 29 at 8:00am

TYA graduate says ‘thanks’ for the help

Vu Nguyen, a case manager for the Transitional Youth Academy, recently received a heartfelt thank-you note from one of the program’s graduates, Jordan Smith.

The class of 2012 graduate from Oceanside High School emailed Nguyen to report that he is working hard to keep his grades up at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He also noted that his spring football practice “went great,” and that he was looking forward to the upcoming season.

For that, he wanted to thank Nguyen and the staff of the TYA and Working Pirates programs who helped to steer him in the right direction when he repeatedly got into trouble at school.

“Entering Oceanside High my freshman year (thanks to Interfaith), you were right there to keep me out of trouble,” Smith wrote to Nguyen. “Thanks to you, TYA and Working Pirates, I was able to get a job. The job was more than making money, it was about keeping me off the streets and out of trouble. It gave me a chance to focus on what I loved, football.”

Smith thanked Nguyen for helping him to become the best student he could be and for instilling in him the ethic of working hard for what he wants.

“I will never forget when I went to your office first day of my junior year telling you to switch me out of pre-calculus and you said, ‘You better suck it up and push through it,’ and ‘nothing good in life comes easy,’ ” wrote Smith. “Although I did not understand it at the time, what you said was not about the math class. What you said was about life.

“Nothing good in life is going to be earned easy,” Smith continued. “If it was easy, everyone would do it. That is why I am here writing this thank-you letter from my desk at West Point. Every time I want to give up, I hear you voice in the back of my head saying to ‘Keep fighting, and it will pay off one day.’ ”

To follow Smith’s progress, look for No. 53 on the Army defensive line during the upcoming football season.