I am writing to wholeheartedly support Minh Tran ’09, who, in my opinion, would make an amazing alderman for Ward 1.

Minh has been a student intern in the New Haven Public Schools, where he forged connections between Worthington Hooker School, Yale and the city of New Haven in countless ways. He accomplished this task with grace, sensitivity and depth, bringing to each project his own work ethic, creative ideas and informed leadership. Minh clearly understands the challenges and opportunities embedded in our community and he has proven without doubt that he will deliver results.

Minh is an amazing, hard working and creative individual who has had a huge impact on the students, teachers and parents at Hooker School. Everyone knows Minh, and he knows everyone: as he walks down the hall, students are eager to greet him, since he knows each one by name. He has established connections with each teacher to understand their curricula, and he has offered resources from Yale and the community in many classrooms. As the music teacher for kindergarten through fourth grade, I am in constant contact with Minh. He has great ideas, and he has arranged for our students to benefit from Yale faculty and his other connections in New Haven.

In February 2007, each student at Hooker studied some aspect of black history, and then each class presented to the rest of the school at a town meeting. Our anchor work was Alvin Ailey’s “Revelations,” which means every presentation involved some sort of dance or movement. Minh is a member of Konjo, the African dance and drumming group at Yale. With his expertise, two classes worked with him each week for two months to prepare an African dance. The dance had authentic meaning and portrayed the devastation of thousands of slaves forced from African villages as they lost everything but the African roots of their music and dance. In two short months, Minh turned a group of children who initially begged for water, breaks and opportunities to sit out and merely watch into a totally energized, exuberant, high-jumping and uncomplaining cast of choreographers and African dancers. Minh’s enthusiasm was always soft-spoken, respectful, supportive and contagious. He is now met at school like the Pied Piper. Classes beg for the opportunity to work with him.

Minh has become vital to our school. We have never had a public school intern who has taken such a personal interest in improving and contributing to our school. It is easy for teachers to work with Minh. He listens, he is collaborative, he thinks creatively, he is extremely organized and he is dependable. It is easy for students to be with Minh. He is positive, supportive, encouraging and happy. He demands a lot by example and people automatically rise to a higher level of achievement when they are around him.

As a teacher who has connected with Minh for three years, I know he can be an effective mentor, spokesperson and leader. He will be able to teach and be an effective alderman at the same time. Through our collaborations, I have personally witnessed what Minh has done to connect Yale and New Haven and I am confident that he will continue to build the relationships he has established in the New Haven community. He has tremendous commitment to both students and to the city of New Haven, and he has proven himself by building unique bridges that benefit New Haven in so many untapped ways. Without hesitation I predict Minh will be the ward’s most visible alderman.

Susan Arnold is a music teacher at Worthington Hooker School.