Mr. Bui: From Student to Teacher


Flyer for South’s spring musical

If you were to go back in time and walk the halls of CB South five years ago, a lot of things would be different. However, you may spot a familiar face.

A student by the name of Kenny Bui walked the hallways of CB South in the beginning of his senior year, set on being a lawyer after shadowing one the previous summer. However, he quickly realized that this may not be the ideal plan for after high school and needed an outlet to be creative.

“By the end of my senior year I had decided that I wanted to go into teaching,” he said.

Over the past few years, there have been many changes within the English Department at CB South, one of them being a new 11th grade English teacher this school year. This teacher, Mr. Bui, was a former CB South graduate, who went on to Penn State for college, graduating in 2015.

Mr. Bui’s teachers at CB South helped him realize his future as a teacher due to his passions for reading and writing. Before teaching the English 11 course at CB South, Mr. Bui taught 10th and 12th grade English at CB West, and 7th grade English at Tohickon Middle School.

Upon realizing his desire to teach late in his senior year, Mr. Bui worked very hard to “do everything [he] could to get as much practice to be an English teacher.” These things included tutoring, working with kids, and helping people with writing.

Mr. Bui now gets the chance to “push [his] students as writers and readers” in his own high school classes.

“It’s definitely interesting,” he said. “It’s almost sentimental at times. It’s also very humbling to be able to come back to a school where I had such a great experience. It’s sentimental to be back in the same spot, or kind of, I guess like returning the favor, or like being on the other side to provide students with the same experience I had.”

To him, the CB South community has proven itself to be a special one. Mr. Bui said that not much of the “welcoming and warming” community has changed since his time as a student here, and if at all, grew stronger.

In his time at South, Mr. Bui was very involved with the musical aspect of the school community. One of his favorite clubs was the Titan Thespians club, where he now works alongside his former directors, Mr. Crea and Ms. LeClair, as director of the club.

“It’s very interesting because they were my directors and they were the people that I always looked up to and I still look up to. And it’s very interesting to work with them. It’s fun to work with them again, but in a different way, as colleagues,” said Mr. Bui.

He added, “It’s really cool to see what they are like as colleagues and not just teachers, but I will still always view them as my teachers. They’re not teaching me to be a student, but now they’re mentoring me through being a great teacher, so I credit them to what I do.”

Mr. Bui works with students in the Titan Thespians Club, a club that provided him with experiences in high school that he holds dear. “Titan Thespians was like a really big part of my time at South. It was something that brought me a lot of joy,” he said. “It’s a very rewarding process.”

He understands the close-knit relationships that are built through the club and knows first-hand about the excitement and experiences students in the club have. “Seeing kids’ passion reignites my passion,” he said.

Some of his plans for the club this year include the annual two shows; A Christmas Carol will play on November 18 and 19, 2016, and Catch Me if You Can will be performed on April 7 and 8, 2017. He also plans to make the Titan Thespians more “club oriented” in terms of activities, so that people can be involved year round.

Students are excited to work with Mr. Bui and to see what he has to offer.

“He’s going to bring a very great vibe to the cast. I can already tell that he’s a very fun-loving guy,” said sophomore James Lingman. “He loves to joke around with us as much as he loves to block the scenes and get us to act as well as we can. So, I think that he’s really gonna bring a lot of fun and positivity to the cast.”

Mr. Bui carried his own musical talents with him outside of high school. One of the former presidents of Titan Choir, he went on to be the President and Director of the Penn State A Cappella Group: Shades of Blue and also worked at the YMCA in the summers as a music specialist for their camp programs.

Mr. Bui found ways to keep music and theater in his life, something he said he was afraid he would be unable to do after high school.

His ambitions extend beyond the theater.

Some of Mr. Bui’s goals as a teacher are to challenge his students’ reading and writing abilities, but he also wants to help kids “learn to enjoy what we’re doing in class,” and to “see the relevance of everything we do in class.”

He has enjoyed watching the students in his sophomore Titan Forum create close bonds, and believes that Titan Forum is special.

His favorite memory of CB South is walking at graduation with his Titan Forum. “It’s the only time when the same people are all together for three years,” he said.

Mr. Bui hopes to continue his involvement in the CB South community for years to come, and plans to take it step by step, as education and community involvement are two major parts of his life.

Welcome back Mr. Bui!