Meet the students selected for the 2018-19 Discover Asia contest

Agnes Tran and Pierre Thibodeaux are the winners of the third annual Discover Asia Correspondent Contest, sponsored by Korean Air. They will each receive an expense-paid five-day, six-night trip courtesy of Korean Air to the destination of their choice in Asia to explore a topic of personal interest. A team of judges who are editors at the L.A. Times selected Agnes and Pierre from about 100 entries representing over 50 high schools.

Agnes Tran | Charter Oak High School

“I want to experience the warm rain and blushing skies that my grandmother has told me about in her stories. I want to take trips to the Ben Thanh Market where my grandmother sold fish (she was one of the intense fishmarket ladies with the butcher knives!), talk to the neighborhood ladies that sell durian on the side of the street that my father used to talk with, and join the midnight gatherings for karaoke and coffee that my mother always talk fondly about. I want to live in the stories I grew up hearing, the stories that I had been embarrassed of for so long, and create my own stories in the same landscape.”


Pierre Thibodeaux | Palisades Charter High School

“Beyond exploring a half of myself that I’ve never completely understood, I want to bring my mother back to Taiwan and for us to experience it together. Since she left as a child, she doesn’t remember what it’s like, and nearly five decades later, it has changed immensely. I believe that I can turn my experience into something useful, through which I can understand myself better, my family better, and my culture better, and so that others can understand too.”


Both students are planning to travel over their spring break. Agnes’ full essay can be found here, and Pierre’s full essay can be found here.

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