Category Archives: Student Blog Posts

The Importance of Community

Working at LAMTON has taught me the importance of community in the Tibetan culture. From my very first tutoring session, I was struck at how close-knit the students and tutors were; I would observe a tutor helping a student with a math problem and only a moment later see them laughing together like old friends. When I first started tutoring, I was unsure how I would fit into the program, as I was one of a few non-Tibetan individuals that were present. I quickly realized, however, that the Tibetan students and mentors that I worked with were very inclusive. It was not long before I started developing meaningful relationships with both the students and tutors. I also learned that students would utilize the LAMTON sessions to not only get ahead in school but also stay connected with their culture. Often times I would hear students conversing with one another in their native language. Although I could not understand them, hearing such dialogues reminded me of my own Indian heritage and how important it is for first generation immigrants to understand and retain their cultural background. In addition, I saw that the staff members cared deeply for the students that they would tutor. Often times they would go beyond what was expected of them in order to enrich the curriculum that the students received. For example, a few of the tutors set up an out-of-state college tour for the sophomores and juniors. They were able to visit top-notch schools such as University of Wisconsin, Madison and the University of Chicago. Another time, the tutors set up a college and resume building workshop. They also offered ACT preparation classes at a reduced cost.

Another observation that I made about the Tibetan community while working at LAMTON is that individualism is not as valued as it is in western cultures. Instead, the Tibetan community places heavy emphasis on helping each other. As I talked to the students at LAMTON, I learned that the majority of Tibetan families came to the United States as refugees. Despite this struggle, the Tibetan community has shown a remarkable amount of resilience and tenacity in making sure that all of the students are successful in the future. This can be seen by the high expectations that the tutors set upon the students. Students are expected to not only be academically productive during the LAMTON sessions but also help one another so that everyone can do well. Perhaps the best way of describing this mentality is that one student’s success is felt as though it is everyone’s success. I noticed this particularly when the ‘Baller Tutee’ award was presented each week. The Baller Tutee award is given to four students (two male and two female) who would demonstrate a strong work ethic and productivity during a LAMTON tutoring session. The students and tutors would gather in a circle while the award winners were being announced. You could feel the positive encouragement and sense of accomplishment that everyone had for each week’s winner, and I think the award would inspire the students to work harder each week. I suppose the innate drive to help the community rubbed off on me, for the more I volunteered at LAMTON, the less it felt like I was there only to complete a class requirement and instead it felt like a fun and engaging activity. As the semester came to an end, I realized that I enjoyed tutoring the students too much to discontinue being involved with LAMTON. I decided that I would like to increase my involvement with the organization, and I am very excited to announce that I will be a board member for LAMTON this fall.


In conclusion, I learned about the importance of community and helping one another through my time at LAMTON.

Lamton Out-of-state College Visits

As spring break approached, I was busy preparing and packing up for the first ever Lamton sponsored college visits which were out of state. We would be able to go to Illinois to visit the University of Chicago and Northwestern University, then we would go to Wisconsin to visit the University of Wisconsin- Madison. There were a total of nine students and three chaperones that went on the trip. On Friday, we hit the road at six in the morning inside a spacious van that was heading straight for Illinois for our first visit at Northwestern University.

We reached Northwestern University at around one in the afternoon, the weather was rather cold and windy yet the sun still gave me hope that I would survive walking around the campus. Unfortunately, we missed the campus tour but still had the option of attending a seminar for each branch of colleges they offered. Acha Nordon, Lhadon, and I went to the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science seminar where we were introduced to an in-depth overview of their school’s mission and various majors they had to offer, such as: biomedical engineering, civil engineering, and computer science. The seminar was led by the senior dean Stephen Carr who was very insightful and answered everyone’s question during the Q&A, he was very friendly and gave us a brief tour of the building which was specifically designed to make sure students didn’t feel like they were confined in the college. It had large window panels instead of walls to give the rather small building a spacious feeling. Overall, the university really piqued my interest and seemed very attentive to their student’s needs.

The next day we visited the University of Chicago. The weather was more tolerable and very sunny which was a bonus! We were led into an auditorium where someone spoke briefly about the university and their mission, he also answered various questions from the audience just like Mr. Carr from Northwestern. Then we were divided into multiple groups for the campus tour, our tour guide was a very enthusiastic Economics major named Sean who gave us a lot of trivia and kept our attention in all aspects of the university. Then we had the privilege of meeting Gen Karma la and Chime Lama, who bought us pizza and let us into his classroom. We sat around the table as Acha Chime told us her story of growing up and how she wanted to become a translator in the future. The most touching thing Acha Chime said was what her dad had told her when she was younger, that “education is the only thing they can’t take away from you”. Gen Karma la also gave us a speech on how fortunate we were to have the opportunity to think about our future and that the path to education is already set for you and the only thing that’s stopping you from reaching it is yourself. I learned that hard work and persistence will pay off in the long run and that you should never give up. Meeting with them was an eye-opening experience which I won’t forget and I even started tearing up a bit at the end because I was really moved by their speeches. Personally, out of the three colleges, the University of Chicago was my favorite one because the overall experience was impressive and it fit the vision of my dream college.

On our last day, we went to the state of Wisconsin and visited the University of Wisconsin- Madison. The weather was dreary with the rain and clouded sky but we endured it for the campus tour. Our tour guide was very friendly and full of jokes– which were at times, very cheesy– but managed to keep our spirits up during the cold tour. I learned that the university is one of the top voted public universities in America and that the campus life is considered very safe for its population size. After the tour, we met four Tibetan students, who currently attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of California-Berkeley, that gave us great advice based on their personal lives and how they came to choose their respective universities. They explained how they overcame their hardships and how we could succeed in the future, decide our majors and choose the colleges we should apply to. This was a really memorable experience because these words were coming from Tibetan students who have already been through school and college and they really were very helpful. Sadly, that was our final destination before heading home but this was a really awesome experience that I will always remember.

Altogether, this opportunity to visit the colleges out of state with fellow students and friends really made this trip the most memorable experience for me. We had a great time discovering Chicago and its city while learning new things. Not only did we get to see some prestigious universities and experience stunning campus tours despite the cold weather, we also meet other Tibetans from different states that shared the same values and promise to preserve their Tibetan identity. This trip really opened my eyes to think about the future of Tibetans and how to make the best of my life in order to help other Tibetans who need help, not everyone is fortunate to have an experience like we did but we can make things like this happen for others later in life. This really was a great trip that I learned a lot from. Thanks a bunch Lamton!

Tenzin Dolkar
Richfield High School
11th grade


D is for Divine for the god like effect he has on people who meet him.

A is for Amiable for his good natured heart and friendly appearance.

L is for Loving for all the love he has for Tibetans.

A is for Amicable for his ambition to promote WORLD PEACE.

I is for Infinite because our love for him and his love for us are never ending.


L is for Levelheaded because of the good choices he has made for the well being of Tibet.

A is for Aware because even though Tibet is in a crisis, he still is aware of the problems in other countries in need.

M is for Magnanimous because of his forgiving heart even when people have done the worst things imaginable.

A is for Arrogant because that is everything that the Dalai Lama is not, despite everything he has accomplished.

-Tenzing Tsekey Sakya
9th grade
Irondale High School

Serving with Lamton

When Lamton said that they were taking us to a homeless shelter, I was intrigued and even a little excited to go; since it was my first time going to a homeless shelter. I have to say that it was a great experience and that it wasn’t at all what I expected. In the days leading up to the field trip, I thought about what it would be like. I expected lots of kids running around, and all the people living together in one room. You could say I thought that the place would be “poor.” This tells you I watch way too many movies. When Lamton got there, (the homeless shelter was called: People serving People) we checked in, and went through security, which I hadn’t expected but wasn’t surprised to see. From there we split into two groups and did our assigned jobs. I worked on beautifying.

I was assigned to sweep all the floors from 4-10, clean windows, and mopping. Even though it was housekeeping work, I had fun talking and working alongside my peers. My partner, Tenzin Wangdu (SAHS 9th Grade), and I kept each other entertained, so it went by fast. We even got to interact a little with the residents there. Even though it was a lot of work, if I had a chance, I would definitely do it again.

In the end, we got the work done and it felt pretty good knowing that we had helped beautify the place. It felt even better because the head of housekeeping at the shelter was pretty happy that we had done so much work. When we got our Hi-C juice boxes, the tears and sweat were all worth it (just kidding, it wasn’t that hard). I think I’ve said it about three times already, and I will say it again; I had a lot of fun! I am so thankful that I got his opportunity and hope that  I will get the chance to do things like this again.


Tenzing Sakya

9th Grader
Irondale High School

Tibetan Medicine

After attending the Tibetan Medicine event on October 25th hosted by LAMTON, I can say it was indeed very educating. Dr. Tashi Lhamo and Dr. Dechen Jamling spent the night teaching myself and 30 others the basics of Tibetan medicine. When you hear the word medicine it simulates your brain into thinking about needles, pills, anything frightening… Well it does in my case. But after listening and processing everything said at the event, you figure out it’s the complete opposite. Tibetan Medicine is all about balancing 5 elements throughout your body, and having peace within yourself, then you’ll find yourself having the healthiest body. I can assume you’re thinking “what? What does having peace with yourself have anything to do with medicine?!” On the contrary, apparently it’s everything. Although the medicine itself is a huge part on making yourself feel better, how YOU treat yourself is also a big factor. Dr. Tashi Lhamo said the first step to a healthy lifestyle is to choose a goal, after you do so, surround yourself with things that will help you achieve it. Make sure to drift yourself away from anything or anybody that will hold you back from who you want to be. The importance of a good attitude is enormous. Not only do we have to have a good mindset, our practitioner must have one also. The attitude of the doctor is just as important as the attitude of the consumer, which is why it is important to have a good relationship with them. Going back to balancing the elements, we believe that once we die and our unconscious minds leave our body, the body will easily become the 5 elements once again.

Sweet Sour Salty
Earth + Water Air + Earth Water + Fire
Butter Hot Astringent
Water + Air Fire + Air Earth + Air

Major Principals of Tibetan Medicine:
Cause of all suffering is ignorance.
Mind and body are interconnected.
Asthma? Stay away from humid + cold places.
If wanting to stay away from stress, distance yourself with the news and horror movies!
Don’t stay on an empty stomach longer than 4 to 5 hours.
Expired Medicine?
If you already have your hands on Tibetan Medicine and you’re worried if it’s expired, fear not. Since the medicine IS 95% made from the Earth’s roots, it will not spoil after a year or two like other medicine. But over time, the percentage of usefulness will drop.
Forms of Medicine
Pills: 4-6 hours until activation *most popular*
Powder form: put in food, activated once digested.
Decoction: fastest. 15-20 minute, absorbs.
Eye drops: more specific

“Practice of medicine offers an opportunity to practice compassion, love and tolerance.”

Tenzin Jangchup Dorjee
10th Grade
Columbia Heights High School