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Ken Nguyen

Description: Musical introduction with OTAN, Outreach and Technical Assistance Network logo shown. Adult Education Students logo is shown and 'California Adult Education Students Succeed 2011' is written underneath.

Description: A picture of Ken Nguyen and Myhau Phan from Metropolitan Adult Education Program (MetroED) is shown. In the picture they are embracing with a beautiful lake in the background.

Ken and Myhau are shown walking across a parking lot into a Furniture USA store. Ken is interviewed. He is a middle-aged Vietnamese man with short black hair. He is wearing a brown polo shirt and is sitting in a leather chair with a plant behind him. He speaks with a Vietnamese accent.

Ken Nguyen:  We left Vietnam, we got on a boat, we floating. I'm talking floating. We don't know where, which way to go.

Description: Myhau Phan is interviewed. She has long black hair pulled back by a headband. She is wearing a multi-colored floral blouse and is also sitting in a leather chair with a plant behind her. She also speaks with a Vietnamese accent.

Myhau Phan: We were in the boat for 6 days and 5 nights on the ocean. It was so scary. We didn't think we'd make it, but we did.

Description: While Ken is interviewed photos are shown. The first photo is a group people from Vietnam who came to America. They are standing outside with an old building in the background. The next two photos are Ken when he first came to America, standing in front of a door that says UNHCR – Resettlement Processing Centre and Myhau standing alone in front of the same door.

Ken: We lucky. We made it to Malaysia after 2 pirate attacks. We went to a refugee camp to see the American delegation to interview us to see where we are from, why we left Vietnam. So we qualified because our family belonged to the South Vietnam so we are related to American government so we are accepted to America.

Description: A black and white picture is shown Ken and Myhau as well as other students from the adult education school.

Myhau: We came to Santa Clara December 13th, 1985 and after the Christmas break we go to adult school, Santa Clara Adult School right away.

Description: Kathy Hamilton is a Caucasian female. She has brown hair that falls just below her jaw line. She is wearing a green top. While Kathy is interviewed a video of Ken and Myhau inside the furniture store is played.

Kathy Hamilton, Director, Elk Grove Adult and Community Education: They are able to articulate so well the importance of that adult school to them and their ultimate security in this country. That they were able to walk to school and learn English and have a safe place for their child to be in childcare, that it gave them the start that they need.

Description: During the following interviews video clips are shown of Ken, Myhau, their daughter Patty, Kathy and another gentleman sitting around a table looking at old pictures and talking. Ken and Myhau are also shown walking around the furniture store.

Ken: I did learn English when I was in high school so I have in here (points to head), but my wife, she chose French at that time. We have choices. We can choose English or we can choose French. She chose French. I chose English, more modern. And she came here, when Myhau came here she know no English. She cannot count from 1 to 10, A to Z, so we start from scratch. I went to Benton about a year. And after that I went to college about 2 ½ years and after that I dropped to get involved in Business. I work for a furniture company. Yeah. So that's why I get involved in this business. After school, 4 or 5 o'clock I went out to a furniture company to deliver furniture.

Description: Patty Nguyen is a young Vietnamese female. She has long black straight hair. She is wearing a black and white checkered shirt. She does not speak with an accent.

Patty Nguyen: I am so proud of my parent’s accomplishments. They came here with nothing but the clothes on their backs. My father started out as a paper boy. He entered the furniture business as a delivery person and look at where he is now. And without my mom none of that would be possible and so I think they make the perfect couple. Without my dad she wouldn’t be as successful and without my mom, my dad definitely would not be able to run the store and I know my brother and I are so proud of them and so grateful and they’re the best parents in the world.

Ken: Many immigrants, when they came here, and at that time remember if you don’t have enough English to guide your children or to listen to them, and you cannot handle them, then they went the wrong way. And I saw, in the Vietnamese community, I saw many cases. They were not lucky like we were. We were from the cities in Vietnam so at least we had an education. So we came here, we continue, keep going. So we can improve our English, learning English and we can guide them to the good way.

Description: While Kathy speaks a family picture is shown of Ken, Myhau and their two children.

Kathy: I know it’s been very important for them to raise both of their children to be productive members of society and how proud they are of their children.

Description: While Ken’s interview continues, a picture of their daughter at her college graduation in her cap and gown is shown. The second picture is their son at his college graduation. He is wearing his graduation gown and has his arm around Myhau as she wears his cap.

Ken: So they grow up, they went to school and both of them have a degree and one become a teacher in West Sacramento near here and one left us to New York. Yes. So they have a good life now.

Description: Background music plays during the remainder of the interviews.

>Kathy: As I got to know Ken and Myhau as our new neighbors, you know, I think that they do epitomize the journey that so many of our adult school students have taken. Coming to California and the United States in a time of hardship and making a super human effort to get here, that’s beyond what most of us can understand and appreciate.

Description: A picture of Ken when he was a young adult is shown. He is sitting at a table in a classroom studying.

Ken: One thing in America and you probably American don’t recognize it, in different countries you have a limited time to go to school only. If you cannot pass that school then you get kicked out right away but in here you can go until you finish the school. Yeah, in our country we don’t offer education like in America. There’s a big difference so if you can learn you can get higher and higher education like I tell my children, the more better for all of us.

Description: Ken and Myhau are standing in front of a Furniture USA store, hugging each other and waving to the camera.

Special Thanks to:

Kathy Hamilton, Principal
Elk Grove Adult and Community Education

Sylvia Karp, Director
Metropolitan Education District
(MetroED) in San Jose

Special Thanks to:

Kathy Martarano, Principal
Santa Clara Adult Education

Produced by OTAN

Blair Roy

Douglas Rennie