A little girl running from war, to a high school class president

  • 2020 Omaha Benson High graduate Aye Aye Nying understands the power of education.

    “My parents are both illiterate because they were never able to go through school,” Nying explains, “but they never failed to give me everything they had.”

    The 20 year old was born in a Thailand refugee camp and spent the early years of her life, “living in a war, starving for days, eating out of bamboo leaves and sleeping as rain fell through the hole of [her] roof.”

    Nying’s family fled to the United States in 2010. At just 10 years old she faced a new country, a new culture and a new language.

    “The English language was strange to me at first, but the love I have for learning motivated me to become who I am today.”

    The family found a home in Omaha, Nebraska and settled into a new midwestern lifestyle. For the first time in her life, Nying began to describe her life as, “normal.” Aye Aye Nying

    A decade later, Nying has thrived in Omaha. She excelled in school, worked hard on the Benson soccer team and earned the respect of her classmates. They recognized her hard work and dedication by electing her senior-class president.

    “I turned my dream and my parents’ dream into a reality; a little girl running from a war, to a high school class president.”

    Though the 2020 Benson High graduation took place online, Nying was nothing but positive when speaking to her classmates. “It took us all twelve years to get the diploma we worked so hard for... If we can make it to this day, we can make it anywhere.”

    “We all have our own book of life that has not been written, and every day that passes is another page that we write in ourselves,” said Nying. “We write our own stories and we’ve been given all the ink and paper we need to make it count.”

    Nying is excited for her next chapter to begin. In the fall of 2020 she will attend the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to receive a degree in athletic training with a minor in coaching.

    “I learned through sports and school that I love to help people reach their dreams. I want to be able to work with athletes and students to help them, just like my parents, coaches and teachers helped guide me to mine.”

    Nying hopes to teach others that moving forward does not mean forgetting the past.

    “From all my hardship I learned how to work hard. I learned how to appreciate every little thing in life; but most importantly, I learned how to keep on going, how to never give up.”