School can be rough. Especially, when you are Asian with the popular Vietnamese surname, Nguyen. It is estimated that 40% of Vietnamese people have the surname, making it one of the most common in the world. Unfortunately, this often prompts people to falsely assume that people with the surname are related.
Anyone with the surname Smith, Taylor, Jones or Roberts, will all know a similar pain. But, for Alice, Kim, Theresa and Vivian Nguyen, enough was enough. It was time to set the record straight… The four girls – who are not remotely related – chose to unite for one final class project for their high school yearbook. It was here that they corrected their fellow students, who had incorrectly presumed them to be sisters over the years. The yearbook is an inevitable part of graduating from school. Filled with inspirational quotes and photos of students with questionable haircuts, it serves as a permanent reminder of your youth. With time moving at an alarming rate in adulthood, a yearbook freezes the past. Flicking every page prompts an explosion of memories, some bad, some good and most, embarrassing. However, for the Nguyen “sisters”, every time they revisit their yearbook they will be reminded of the empowering moment when they made a stand, against those who believed them to be sisters… Instead of choosing to insert all of their achievements with their yearbook photo, the Nguyen girls, believed to be from Australia, chose to opt for one single world each. However, the words they chose were more powerful than any motivational quote. “WE. ARE. NOT. RELATED” reads the caption, which stretches across the four girls tiles in their yearbook, beneath beaming pictures of them in their uniform. It is believed that the girls were inspired by a similar stunt pulled off by EIGHT girls, also with the surname Nguyen, in their 2012 yearbook… In 2012, eight students at San Jose’s Presentation High School, California, caused a stir when they dressed identically for their yearbook, which was ordered alphabetically. They then used their allotted comments section to form a message which read: “We know what you’re thinking and no, we’re not related!”. The message was clear (well, sort of, considering two of the girls are in fact twin sisters) and their prank went instantly viral. The yearbook is commonly saturated with mischievous comments and subliminal messages, written by teenagers who want to be remembered. But, the Nguyen ‘sisters’ simple message is certainly one that cannot be forgotten. Oblivious to the fact that the Nguyen girls were planning a spectacular stunt, other pupils took a traditional approach, with other captions in the same yearbook reading: “Make your smile change the world, but don’t let the world change your smile” and “‘Goals don’t become reality through magic: it takes sweat, determination and hard work.” However, if you thought the Nguyen prank was unbeatable, you clearly are not familiar with the story of retired gym teacher, Dale Irby, who posed in the exact same outfit for 40 years worth of yearbook photos… The tradition, which began in 1973, was started by pure accident when Irby wore the same outfit the following year. Initially, Irby was horrified by the faux pas. However, he soon saw the funny side when his wife dared him to continue the look for every photo. He obliged, and in 2012, when he retired, the 63-year-old teachers prank was exposed.
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