“To keep my edge, I must think and act like an immigrant,” said San Jose State’s graduation speaker, Omid Kordestani, a Google vice president and SJS alum.
Immigrants, said the Iranian born Kordestani, have unbounded optimism. “Inherently, you are a dreamer and a fighter,” he said.
At age 14, Kordestani convinced his mother to move to America. He had seen an American television show that taught him about this nation’s can-do spirit. It was “The Jeffersons,” he said, eliciting laughter from the crowd, and the theme song said it all: “We’re moving on up.”
I love that.
Another Mercury News story is about a graduation speaker at St. Francis High, a top student with a severe stutter. Daniel Ding, who came from China at the age of five, joined the speech and debate club in high school and sang in the choir. He worked with a coach, a retired speech professor.
“God gave me a voice to speak, and though I am far from perfect at it, I insist on speaking because I feel that I’ve something important to say.”
He plans to study neuroscience at Harvard.