Kovzun was born in Chisinau, the capital of the Republic of Moldova, and moved with his family to Centralia when Kovzun’s father won that country’s green card lottery.
“There’s a lottery for people who want to come to America. My father went to the lottery office with a friend who urged him to apply. It was a total surprise when he won,” Vasily said. By winning, the family was given green cards (allowing foreign nationals to live and work permanently in the U.S.) and airline tickets. Vasily, who has an older brother, was 2-years old when the family moved to the U.S. and found their way to the Centralia area. Kovzun entered the public school system and while at WF West, he enrolled in the Centralia College Running Start program. He will graduate high school and receive his two-year college degree concurrently this June and transfer to a four-year university, choosing from the University of Washington, where his brother attended, Washington State University, Stanford, and Harvard.
“I found an amazing staff at Centralia College, and it has been a great learning experience,” Kovzun said. Getting involved in college and taking college classes reignited his desire for education. “I was bored in high school but have really enjoyed college. The teachers are able to meet with me and help when I have questions. I’ve never had a teacher at the college tell me he didn’t have time or couldn’t help. Centralia College has challenged me.” He has risen to that challenge, reflected in his 3.9 grade point average. He also speaks two languages fluently and “can get by” in
three other languages.
“My beginnings and the poverty my family has known makes me understand the great gift and chance I have been given to live in America. I intend to never squander that gift. Whether in life or in my education, I plan to work hard and make the best of myself every single day,” Kovzun said.
His career goal is to enter the medical field. “I know I want to help others. It may be as a doctor or as a researcher,” Kovzun said. Already he is involved in activities to help improve people’s lives. He served as the team leader that did volunteer yard work for families who couldn’t do it themselves. “We took care of lawns and did other projects around the home,” Kovzun said. During a recent summer he undertook a mission trip to Vancouver, B.C., to assist in the operations of a children’s camp. He has been a volunteer locally with Kids’ Kloset, a program that collects and distributes clothing and shoes to children in low-income families.
Kovzun said that one of his more significant endeavors was helping to modify a motor vehicle to allow a disabled person to drive. He worked on a system to raise and lower the vehicle to help the individual get into it.
Not all of his work has been as a volunteer. “For seven years I delivered The Chronicle, earning money to pay for things I wanted,” he said. He recently gave up that job to work in the college’s science labs.
“It is work that I really enjoy,” he said. And is certainly more suited to his career goals.