Jewel Nguyen dreams of someday becoming a food critic and working alongside restaurateur and television personality Gordon Ramsey.
She would also like to travel back in time to Abraham Lincoln’s inauguration, calls “99 Problems,” by JAY-Z, her favorite song and considers herself lucky to be attending South Pasadena High.
Those are just a few notable aspects of the 17-year-old senior who seems to be having the time of her life.
Nguyen enriched it further last Friday night during the school’s homecoming after being selected the royalist of the six 2019 Royal Tigers as part of halftime of the Tigers’ final regular season football game against visiting La Cañada.
When her name was revealed, Nguyen, the daughter of Melissa and Pete Gonzalez, flashed a bright smile, saying: “It’s just an a amazing opportunity to be a part of this. I was shocked, I definitely was not expecting this.”
After being escorted by her father to the South Pasadena sideline, standing with other Royal Court Tiger honorees –
Senior Jeremy Park
Senior Sam Clark
Sophomore Jaiden McThomas
Sophomore Blake Sanchez
Freshman Isu Park
– Nguyen waited patiently before hearing her name called, then was draped with a sash declaring her the winner.
“I appreciate it so much that I get to be a part of this school to receive this education,” said Nguyen, SPHS’s commissioner general who also serves on the school’s yearbook staff.
Proudly, Nguyen’s ecstatic father, Peter, added, “This is a wonderful surprise for her. She works so hard in school and in all the other extracurricular activities she participates in. It’s a proud moment.”
One of her biggest fans is her brother, Tino, a member of South Pasadena High’s football team, who came over to hug Nguyen and say some congratulatory words just before the Tigers took the field for the second half against La Cañada, outmatched in this one 40-10 on homecoming night.
It was a crowning moment for the newest Royal Tiger. “It’s just a great feeling,” said Nguyen, who wants to further her education at the University of California at Santa Barbara next year after high school graduation. “I really appreciate that my fellow students are able to recognize me.”