Tai Huynh’s parents were refugees from Vietnam. “We didn’t exactly have much,” Huynh says.
He grew up in a refugee community in America where his grandparents and friends took care of him while his parents worked long hours. The community families supported each other by helping with groceries, offering a ride, and finding each other jobs.
This sense of community grew with Huynh and has stayed an important piece of who he is.
When Huynh’s family moved to Indian Trail, they looked for cost-saving opportunities for education and they found the Early College at South Piedmont Community College. In five years, Huynh was able to graduate high school, earn an Associate’s degree, take on leadership roles like SGA President, and earn his real estate license.
This type of free college opportunity is not only for Early College students, but all high school students through the Career and College Promise Pathways.
“The leadership, academic, and professional skills I learned through my time at SPCC laid the foundation for where I am today,” Huynh said.
Most recently Huynh was elected Town Council Member of Chapel Hill beating out Nancy Oates by only twenty-four votes. This elections makes him the first Vietnamese-American to hold office in North Carolina. Huynh at age twenty-two, is only the third UNC-Chapel Hill undergraduate to hold a seat on the town council. His main priorities on the town council will be increasing the affordability of his community and socioeconomic mobility.
Huynh also started a business, Acta Solutions, which sells software to local governments to enable more community-driven, data-backed decision-making. Upon graduation from UNC-Chapel Hill, he plans to devote his time fully to his start-up.
“I wouldn’t be where I am today without the faculty and staff at SPCC,” Huynh says. “They generously gave their time and energy to support me at every step of my journey and I can never thank them enough. They always went above and beyond their job descriptions to support me.”
Written by Misty McMillan