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Hana Le earns Student of the Year repeat

Tuesday, February 2, 2021
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Ruston High School senior Hana Le has been named High School Student of the Year for Lincoln Parish.

Hana Le is no stranger to prestigious titles.

Serving not only as Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) president at the Ruston High School and statewide levels but also as secretary at the national level, Hana represents more than 200,000 of her peers in the largest student business organization in the world.

Even her most recent honor as Lincoln Parish High School Student of the Year is not entirely new to her, as Hana had previously received the middle school version of the title a few years ago.

Yet she said the distinction still means the world to her because it was RHS and the school district that launched her to greater achievements.

“I’m incredibly grateful to be able to represent Ruston High and Lincoln Parish as their High School Student of the Year,” Hana said. “All of my accomplishments are a testament to the Ruston High School administration’s neverending encouragement and the Lincoln Parish School Board’s limitless support.”

Hana is the daughter of Son Le, a professor in the Louisiana Tech University College of Business, and Van Le, an immigration co-ordinator in Tech’s international student office. Her younger sister Melissa also won district Student of the Year honors at the elementary level in 2019.

Like Hana, Van Le credits much of her eldest daughter’s success to her experiences at RHS.

“When Hana was in primary school, we were so worried because she was very quiet,” Van Le said. “She seldom talked much to anyone unless it was necessary. When she entered Ruston High, it was like she was a different person. We never thought that Hana could stand in front of more than 5,000 students during conferences and give speeches to strangers.”

The high school senior attributes much of her growth and success to her experience with FBLA.

In addition to campaigning for and being elected to state and national office, through FBLA Hana has been able to serve on committees for nonprofits like the March of Dimes, advocate for educational equity, and discuss critical issues facing today’s high schoolers with U.S. Department of Education officials, as well as building relationships with student leaders around the world.

“In the past four years, FBLA has become an integral part of my life,” she said, “showing me the power of community and connection, and also shaping my future career plans of becoming a business professor… The world of opportunities that FBLA has provided me with is limitless, and I would recommend joining to any student who is looking for the chance to go beyond their potential.”

Among other charitable projects, Hana co-founded the “Hope Chest” program at the Louisiana Methodist Children’s Home, an effort which seeks to support teens aging out of the foster care system and was part of a successful lobbying push that produced new legislation in 2019 governing the extension of foster care services from age 18 to 21 under certain conditions.

When her family visited her parents’ original home of Hanoi, Vietnam in the summer of 2019, Hana volunteered to teach English as a second language to local children.

“I think that, oftentimes, we forget that English is a global language, that it has become a cornerstone for business, foreign relations, and even education,” she said. “As the daughter of Vietnamese emigrants, I’ve recognized how much we take our language for granted, and I’ve seen how out-oftouch it is to view those who learn English as their second language as somehow less than those who can speak it ‘perfectly.’”

Other positions Hana has held include being a member of the Louisiana Legislative Youth Advisory Council and the National Student Ambassador for Inclusion, Access, Equity, and Diversity Issues for the Association for Career and Technical Education.

She said much of the confidence and skill she needed to succeed in these and other endeavors came from her years of competing in speech and debate at RHS. She’s been the debate team’s head captain for three years.

“Competing, especially as one of the only female debaters in Louisiana, has underscored for me the importance of valuing my own arguments and being firm in my beliefs, while also respecting those of others,” Hana said.

Through her wide array of efforts and accolades, Hana said her main motivation comes from the fierce and continuous support of her family. Even in light of all her daughter has accomplished, Van Le said the Student of the Year honor is especially noteworthy.

“We can say this award is one of the most significant achievements throughout her high school career, and we would like to thank the Lincoln Parish community for always being so supportive of Hana’s endeavors,” she said. “She made us proud, and we are so happy for her.”