NORTH HIGH VARSITY LETTER FOR TRACK

Title

NORTH HIGH VARSITY LETTER FOR TRACK

Contributor

JOHN VO

Description

I picked this varsity letter to represent a place: Lake Quinsigamond. When I was in high school, I was part of the cross-country team at North High and we practiced there; it has a very special place in my heart. The cross-country team itself was the first sense of community I had in Worcester. My parents are Vietnamese refugees who came to the United States in 1985. Our cross-country team was primarily Vietnamese as well, with a lot of Vietnamese students. The war led to a lot of trauma for the parents, and they don’t like to talk about it. So we didn’t have that sense of identity. All of us who were feeling lost found some sense of place through this sport and this park.

Oral History

JOHN VOO INTERVIEWED BY GABRIELLA GRILLA

My name is John Vo. I’m basically a Worcester native, I was actually born in Lowell but I grew up here. I moved here at two, so that’s like born and breed, right? I went to school all the years through here, elementary school all the way through college. Now I’ve opened this gallery. (Nine Dot Gallery). I spat this out last time and I think I refined it a little bit for this interview. So the object I had picked when I had proposed it for the team was dirt from Quinsigamond State Park. Only because in high school I felt like, as most teens I guess, I had an identity issue. I’m Vietnamese but my parents just didn’t think of us like that, they wanted us to be really Americanized, that’s why my name is John. I don’t have a middle name like a normal Vietnamese person. But I joined the cross country team because my older brother was a part of it and he said “you know, I think you’d get a lot out of it.” We always met over there and it was the first time I felt community. It didn’t come from nationality; it didn’t come from anything else, just from the love of running, really. The funny part was that most of the team was Vietnamese, so it worked out kind of funny. But if I did have to put something in there, I have this pin from the cross country team that I got from joining varsity. So I think I’d put that in.”

Worcester’s very open. It doesn’t really matter what demographic you’re from; you can always make a niche of your own. And so myself, coming from a refugee background and other people immigrating here, you don’t really have to jump into the role of being anything. If you find something you really like, I think there’s an open arms kind of policy that’s readily available here in Worcester. That idea of community, I think, is really cool.

The funny thing is, to get a letter and a pin, you’d have to be on the team for a year to get your letter and after that you’d need to be consecutively on the team to get your pin. So all of us were on the team for four years and we all have these letters and pins but since we’re a public school we had very little funding at that time, so none of us had jackets to put them on. So at my house they’re sitting in a cupboard, on like a display. I have this letter with all these pins on it so now I’ll have to get a varsity jacket. It’s only after college that it got kind of hip, like people with leather sleeves, that collegiate look. So I thought, oh maybe I’ll throw these on later. I have a good chance to do that now and rep my high school.

Files

IMG_0355.jpg
johnc.jpg

Collection

Reference

NORTH HIGH VARSITY LETTER FOR TRACK

Cite As

“NORTH HIGH VARSITY LETTER FOR TRACK,” Worcester in 50, accessed November 17, 2018, http://worcesterin50.com/items/show/11.

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