Tag Archives: Tony Wan

Iraq veteran is valedictorian at York College


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

York College Commencement 2012.

While leading a patrol on a well-known supply route in Iraq from Fallujah to Ramadi, Marine Tony Wan spotted a slight disturbance on the path.

Following his training to question his suspicions, he drove closer.

When he realized it was an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) it was too late, and before he could turn back and finish yelling “I-E-D” to his comrades, his Humvee exploded.

Wan, now a 25-year-old resident of Fresh Meadows, survived the explosion with a minor concussion. In fact, it was the second explosion he’d survive while on tour in 2006.

“Going in I felt we were ready and well trained, but it was different than we expected,” Wan said of his tours.

During a later expedition Wan’s company lost two men, one his best friend, and today he wears a bracelet to commemorate them.

“It reminds me of the sacrifice that Marines like them make,” he said of the memento.

The veteran returned home after a second tour and enrolled at York College, part of the City University of New York (CUNY), in 2009.

Fast forward three years, and when York College hosted its 42nd commencement exercise for its largest graduating class on June 1, Wan was the valedictorian with a 3.99 GPA, standing out among the sea of 1,000 caps and gowns.

He was the first member of his family to earn a college degree.

For Wan, who majored in chemistry, the graduation marked a turnaround in his life.

Years earlier, he was struggling to graduate from Benjamin Cardozo High School. Ironically, he “failed chemistry three times,” and had to make up classes.

He voluntarily enlisted in the Marine Corps, because he realized his parents couldn’t afford to send both him and his brother to college.

However, he said the military was a positive experience, which enhanced his personality.

“Through the military I learned discipline and perseverance,” he said, which were the driving forces behind his return to the classroom.

With certificate in hand, he aims for a new goal — to go to medical school so he can help other veterans.

 

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

2012 Scripps National Spelling Bee: Arvind Mahankali of Queens finishes third for second straight year

New York’s reigning wordsmith again came achingly close to a title at the Scripps National Spelling Bee Thursday, notching a third-place place finish for the second straight year. Arvind Mahankali of Bayside Hills, Queens, who was sponsored by the Daily News, sailed through his third national bee until well into Thursday night’s finals – aired live on ESPN – when pronouncer Jacques Bailly hit him with “schwannoma,” a tumor of the sheath of the peripharal nerve. Read more: [New York Daily News]

 

P.S. 174 Teacher Now Accused Of Molesting Five Boys

A Queens elementary school teacher arrested in February is now accused of molesting a total of five boys. 49-year-old Wilbert Cortez was originally charged with fondling two young boys in his classroom earlier this year. Read more: [NY1]

 

Deli fury at city’s ‘grocer’ injustice

Big Apple deli owners yesterday cried foul over Mayor Bloomberg’s plan to ban them from selling sugary drinks that are more than 16 ounces — a rule that wouldn’t apply to “Big Gulp” king 7-Eleven and other grocery stores. Read more: [New York Post]

 

State Senator’s husband tells cops he was mugged at Aqueduct racino 

A casino may be the perfect place for bluffing, but not when guns and the law are involved. The husband of a Queens lawmaker claims that he was recently mugged at gunpoint in the parking lot of the Aqueduct racino. Read more: [New York Daily News]

 

Decorated Marine named valedictorian of York College in Jamaica 

A decorated former Marine corporal who served two tours of duty in Iraq has overcome yet another challenge: college, and with flying colors.Chemistry major Tony Wan, 25, of Fresh Meadows, was named valedictorian of his class at York College. Wan, the first college grad in his family, is to accept his diploma on Friday. Read more: [New York Daily News]

 

Man Who Hijacked Plane In 1968 To Be Re-Sentenced

A federal appeals court ordered a new sentencing Thursday for a man sent to prison 15 years ago for hijacking a plane from New York to Cuba in 1968. Authorities say 69-year-old Luis Armando Pena-Soltren hijacked the plane to Cuba after it took off from Kennedy Airport. Read more: [NY1]