Skip to comments.ESL student graduates as valedictorian
Posted on 06/19/2012 7:49:24 AM PDT by DFG
TACOMA, Wash. -- Among the jittery seniors waiting to walk out at Tacoma's Lincoln high school's graduation, is a 19 year old who is small in stature but big in achievement.
Duc Nguyen moved to the U.S. with his family from Vietnam 4 years ago and didn't speak a word of English. He remembers kids making fun of him and thinking he'd never make it.
But tonight he graduates with a 3.97 GPA and as class valedictorian. He insists his gift isn't intellect. He says he's a slow learner. But he makes up for it by working hard.
His parents never got the chance to go to college and do not speak English. But no language barrier could keep them from appreciating the honor bestowed on Nguyen tonight. They sat in the audience with big smiles as Nguyen gave his speech.
He heads to the University of Washington next year and plans to major in computer science.
The best student in the class and the GPA was less than 4.0?
How well did he do in English class?
>>His parents never got the chance to go to college and do not speak English.
Clearly the kid didn’t get his work ethic from his parents. Four years in country and they don’t speak any English? Pathetic.
“The best student in the class and the GPA was less than 4.0?”
Apparently better than any of our “natives” did. I wonder what the demographics were.
When a foreign student who speaks no English can catch up and outstrip the native Americans in four years, it is truly sad to think what a lazy generation is coming up to take the reins of our nation. (I’ll bet they have Facebook pages, though.)
Compare him to those who, after living here 10-20 years, complain to a reporter about America - through an interpreter.
Duc and kids like him are welcome.
And self-esteem. Lots and lots of self-esteem.
“The best student in the class and the GPA was less than 4.0?”
Perhaps this school actually had standards.
After all, what use is a 4.0 GPA when there are numerous students possessing it?
One can always go to and graduate from Harvard where everyone has that GPA.
Over time, 12 years later, I became a teacher and got to know Vietnamese and oriental families. My respect for them was deep and immediate. Their family unity, work ethic and social ethics are, I learned, everything that I value as the 'American Dream". Almost every valedictorian for a decade in my schools had Vietnamese immigrant origins.
We could do well to re-learn our "American" values from them.
“Duc and kids like him are welcome. “
More than welcome. I want to trade our OWS punks for young people like Duc. I don’t think there are any people with a greater work ethic than the Asians.
I am close friends with a Filipino family. They have menial jobs but are grateful to live in America. At one time one biked to 3 different jobs. It took 15 years for all of their family to come to America through the INS. I just admire their perseverance and devotion to family.
Nor have I ever heard of an Asian complaining or whining or bitching.
I teach some Vienamese children. Good people.
As for this kid - congrats! Saying that the other kids were ‘lazy’ is just a way to avoid giving him the respect that he is due for his accomplishment.
Nobody said they didn't speak any English. Spend 4 years in Vietnam and see how much Vietamese you know. I bet it won't be much.
Could there actually still be high schools which do not have testing schemes where students can score >100 and have GPAs >4.0? That would be an encouraging sign.
“My respect for them was deep and immediate.”
I know I became a better person and American as a result of my friendship with a Filipino family. Seeing how they valued their opportunities here through their eyes opened mine.
I taught one of them to drive and one of them to read. It just humbles you to feel their gratitude and see how hard they work. As a naturalized citizen myself, I’ve always felt how fortunate I am to live in this country. My Filipino friends have made me appreciate it all the more.
Read BenLurkin’s tagline. Maybe he’s just trying to stir up comment.
Most people don't have taglines and most taglines aren't necessarily worth reading, let along trying to relate them to every comment someone makes.
I think you underestimate the difficulty an adult faces in learning a new language. My wife learned English as a teen before coming here as a nurse in the 1970’s and she got a Masters while working in a hospital nights. Yet she still has words she cannot properly pronounce. I’ve been studying Thai off an on for the 35 years we’ve been married and I have huge problems in speaking.
The base reasons are that adults have a hard time speaking in one language and often thinking in another while young people usually have an easier time beginning thinking in the new language. Second, unlike English, Asian languages are most often tonal where a low, mid, high or transitioning tone give a word totally different meanings. Finally, this boy’s parents are most likely working for Vietnamese speakers for long periods of time. You may have a language ability or intellect sufficient to quickly pick up a new language quickly but I guess I’m too stupid.
Lincoln HS is about 70% non-white.......I’m glad to see this young man managed to survive his years there....couldn’t have been easy, and I’m sure his family’s support is what got him through! Welcome to America, Duc....YOU are the kind of LEGAL immigrant we welcome.
Well....if you want positive results, rather than a captive dependent class.....???
Can't let THAT happen!
These stories epitomize the immigrant nation roots our country has. It seems that those who appreciate the country most had to work hardest to get here...legally.
Compare him to one who, after graduating from Harvard, complain to America - through a teleprompter.
Duc for Prez!
I worked at Camp Pendleton when the first Viets were coming over. (Our keypunch girls were going crazy trying to decipher their printing on some documents.)
These people might as well have been from Mars - they looked different, spoke a strange language, worshipped a different God, ate weird food, etc. (One wit mentioned that they were making egg rolls while on the plane coming over and were setting up food shops the minute they landed.)
Four years later their kids were not only speaking English, they were class valedictorians like Duc, just to name a few. Things got so bad at the Community College I attended, that the American kids were looking to see who signed up for classes, and if there were too many Viet names, they passed. It seems that the Newbies were skewing the Bell Curve so bad, the American kids had to actually WORK for their grades.
Would that all our immigrants were like them.
My wife was 17 when she immigrated to Canada back in the spring of 1984. She didn’t know a word of English, but was able to pick up enough graduate high school 18 months later. It’s amazing what you can do when you are put to the test. Sadly, most of our kids don’t get truly challenged until they’re doing a post-graduate degree or hit the workforce. Far too late when you’re competing against kids who are both bright and hardworking.