The presentation took place that Friday morning in the A.C. Jones High School Auditorium.
Dang has high hopes of being a family physician one day. He is a long way from that right now, but a college scholarship is a step in the right direction.
Though Dang was well qualified to receive the prestigious award, he was still surprised.
“I was very surprised because I thought I wouldn’t get it because everyone else was just as competitive as I was,” he said.
Surprise wasn’t the only thing he felt when he heard his name announced by the speaker.
There was also pride — not just his own — but his father’s.
“When I saw the look on my dad’s face, I knew he was proud,” he said.
His dad’s eyes overflowed with tears as he came to hug Dang that morning.
“He told me he loved me and he was proud of me,” Dang said.
One would think after winning a $30,000 scholarship that life would be a breeze, but that is not the way Dang sees it.
He knows it is not going to be enough to pay for his entire education.
His math teacher, Roy Hanus, told Dang best when he said, “Don’t get excited because this is only the beginning of scholarships.”
The purpose of the Barnhart scholarship is to encourage superior students to excel.
The award is not necessarily based on the highest academic standing and takes into account the student’s potential for contributions to the world in the areas of civics, religion, other humanities, business or professions.
The award amount is $7,500 and may be given for four years for a possible total of $30,000.
Dang is ready to buckle down and keep moving forward on doing what he needs to do to get to college.
The high school junior carries a full course load that includes classes like English AP, U.S. history dual credit, physics pre-AP, calculus AP, stats AP and zoology dual credit.
Though the schedule would scare most students, Dang is managing. He said his father picked his schedule for him.
“I guess he wouldn’t have pushed me if he didn’t think I could do it,” he said.
Dang is currently ranked third in his class and has aspirations to try and increase his ranking by graduation to make his father proud. His father has a firm belief that school comes first.
His father isn’t the only one who pushes him and believes in him; there are also his math teacher (Hanus) and a grade school teacher named Ross Brown.
When the busy Dang isn’t studying for one of his many classes, he is also a varsity basketball player, a member of the National Honor Society and Key Club, and he volunteers with Relay for Life.
“I always like to help other people before I help myself,” he said.
His 10-year-old brother, Brandon, is a big part of his life and, through caring for Brandon, Andy has learned about caring for other people.
His father, Mike, works full-time, sometimes six or seven days a week, so the care of his brother falls to him.
Even though Dang said his brother “is a pain in the butt” sometimes, he would do anything for him.
“He is my inspiration for becoming a doctor,” Dang said.
Family is near and dear to the heart of this year’s Barnhart scholar, and he seems to hold them in the highest regard.
Dang will be the first one in his immediate family to receive a college education and is looking forward to doing whatever is necessary to make that happen.