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James Sang sits with a group of students while teaching in Denmark

James Sang became a U.S. citizen in December and received his passport less than two weeks before he left for Denmark to teach abroad. This achievement was the latest for the Middle School Mathematics Education senior and TCU Community Scholar.

Sang and his family left Yangon, Myanmar as refugees and they lived in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia for three years before moving to the U.S in 2011. He attended Polytechnic High School in Fort Worth and was determined to learn English and finish high school in three years. Math came a little easier with less of a language barrier.

He had not heard of TCU until a college adviser at Polytechnic encouraged him to apply for the Community Scholars program. Sang said TCU was a huge culture shock at first, compared to his diverse high school.

“For the first three months at TCU, I  was not really involved. It was a new environment,” he said. “But then I went to leadership training and became very involved.”

James Sang at his naturalization ceremonySang received the Change Agent Award from TCU’s Student Development Services, where he completed much of his leadership training. He is in the TCU Student Support Services and McNair Scholar programs. He received the Tayman H. and Helen L. Wilson Scholarship. He has served as a tutor and mentor at area schools and volunteered with local non-profits. He said he hopes to give back and serve as an example for adolescents, especially refugees.

“I came from a war-torn country, but it doesn’t mean I don’t have a chance,” Sang said. “As long as students have the will to achieve their dreams, they will succeed.”

Much of his passion for teaching comes from his spiritual life. His father, who received citizenship on the same day James did, started a church in Fort Worth. James started a Sunday School class there and also serves as a praise and worship leader.

“I want to inspire students to follow their passions, while letting them inspire us to do the same,” Sang said. “My goal is to make a substantial difference in my community and in for children's futures.”

Sang will graduate in Spring 2018 with Leadership and Community Scholar medallions. He hopes to teach in low socio-economic schools, attend graduate school and eventually start his own school.

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