Nuami Lam Tung credits educators in journey to becoming Miss JHS
Jenks High School senior Nuami Lam Tung was named Miss JHS 2020 Thursday during a virtual Mr. and Miss JHS program put on by Jenks Public Schools.
Nuami’s path to becoming Miss JHS was a unique one. The Jenks senior started attending Jenks Public Schools in 2014 in seventh grade after her family moved to the Tulsa area following a brief stint in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Nuami said she remembers her first day at Jenks Middle School vividly.
“I was very lost because I did not speak English at that time,” Nuami said. “I couldn’t find my classes. The school was big, and I was confused. I was crying because I did not know how to explain myself. The teachers were very nice, and they helped me find my classes.”
The struggles continued through middle school until she made her way to into Jenks High School, where she was connected with English tutor Maria Fedore.
“My tutor helped me along in the process,” Nuami said. “I went there every day of week after school. She challenged me. The biggest challenge I faced was learning English. I really wanted to get involved in the school, but my English was holding me back.”
The extra time was well spent, as Nuami is now speaking English fluently.
“My tutor really pushed me hard and my teachers from middle school to high school were amazing,” Nuami said. “They all really impacted me greatly. They would all challenge me and I was able to get out of my comfort zone and start going after leadership positions in the school. Everything I have accomplished is because my teachers believed in me even when I didn’t believe in myself.”
As a high school senior, Nuami is the United Nations Student Ambassador for Oklahoma. She said she was not going to apply for the position but was encouraged by Fedore.
“My tutor introduced me to the program,” Nuami said. “She urged me to apply. At first, I wasn’t going to, but she kept at me, so I decided to do it and they accepted my application.”
Jenks High School teacher Jordan Johnson has Nuami in class as a senior and Johnson gave glowing remarks about her pupil Thursday during the program.
“That was the best introduction,” Nuami said. “I was speechless. I could tell Mrs. Johnson was speaking from her heart. Having her as a teacher has been the highlight of my senior year. I really appreciate her.”
Prior to coming to the United States in late 2013, Nuami and her family went through numerous hardships, as they were in search of a better life.
Nuami was born in Burma, where she lived until she was eight. Her father traveled to Malaysia, where he eventually was able to obtain a U.N. Card, so he could bring the rest of the family.
Even though they were able to escape from Burma, they were still struggling in Malaysia in a refugee camp. They remained there for three years before they were able to make their move to the United States of America.
“We were discriminated against in Malaysia,” Nuami said. “I was only able to attend school in the refugee camp. Having the opportunity to experience the freedoms the United States had to offer was amazing. I learned definitely not to take that for granted.”
When she found out she was named Miss JHS, Nuami said she was excited, but wants others to get the credit, not herself.
“Having the title Miss JHS is a miracle,” Nuami said. “I really want people to know it is not me. This is all about the teachers I had at Jenks. Sometimes I think to myself that I don’t deserve this and those teachers who helped me out along the way are the ones who deserve it.”