Kim Huynh wins!


Sahar Fayaz, Staff Reporter

On January 9, 2016, West High alumna Kim Huynh was crowned Miss Silicon Valley at the Mission Valley Center for Performing Arts. Huynh, a 2010 graduate of West High and 2014 graduate of Stanford University, humbly took the title, telling the Santa Clara Weekly, “It’s a great honor, one I didn’t expect but one I’m thrilled to receive.”

As a student at West High, Huynh ran Track and Field, cross country, and played tennis. She completed 400 hours of community service, took in part of eleven AP classes, served as president in two clubs, had a part time job, was yearbook editor, won the Tracy Junior Miss (now Distinguished Young Women of Tracy) pageant and maintained a 4.40 GPA. Although she remembers it as “high stress and very little sleep, it was worth it.”

Even though Huynh attended her dream school Stanford, she said, “I wasn’t always happy there. Getting in didn’t make me a perfect person, it didn’t solve all my problems, and it didn’t give me a happy ever after.” Yet the overall experience was “humbling.” Huynh said, “Coming in contact with others that were different than me, realizing my weaknesses, growing into my strengths, and having the time to learn and grow made it an extremely important and formative experience.”

Huynh’s first pageant was the Tracy’s Junior Miss (now Distinguished Young Women of Tracy), which she heard through a friend. When asked why she participated in the pageant Huynh said, “It seemed like a fun way to earn scholarship money and honestly, I thought that if I’d won I’d feel validated in some way.” From that, Huynh said that she told herself that she’d compete for Miss California in the Miss America Organization one day, but never felt ready. Until this year, where Huynh could still fulfil the age requirements (17-24). She said, “In January I finally made myself try for Miss Silicon Valley, a preliminary to Miss California. It was an incredible honor to win, and now I’m preparing for Miss California in July.”

When asked how she prepares for pageants Huynh said, “You have to take a good, hard look at who you are as a person, what you value, what you’ve accomplished and what you hope to accomplish. Although categories of competition vary from pageant to pageant, the Miss America Organization puts a strong emphasis on talent, scholastic achievement and interview/interpersonal skills, as well as a secondary emphasis on the swimsuit and evening gown portions of the competition. This means a lot of working out, talent practice, interview coaching, wardrobe decisions and general getting my life to look put together. There’s also a platform component, in which contestants choose a platform to advocate during their year of service.”

Like how she volunteered in her high school years, Huynh still aims to help her community. She aims to help young girls learn negotiation skills. “By not negotiating, women are getting less of what they want and need and, in the long run, not negotiating can lead to a significant loss of money, time and overall satisfaction. Teaching younger girls to negotiate is a direct way to empower them and to show what they can receive and accomplish, if they would only ask.”

Huynh’s advice to current West High students is “Aim high. Set clear goals about who you want to be, where you want to go and what you want to do and, taking one step at a time—figure out what you need to do to get there. You are so young, you have so much potential and you’re so much smarter and more capable than you may think. Also, be sure to take advantage of the wonderful community you have behind you. My time at West High would not have been the same without the likes of Mrs. Duff, Mr. Haim, Mr. Fallquist, Mr. Farrens, Mrs. Rotondi, and Mrs. Escalante—just a few of the many West High teachers who I know to consistently go above and beyond in their duty to their students.”