‘Moving on up’

“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.

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  1. Daniel Holmes says:

    This is so true. How sad that there are so many spoiled American kids who actually think they have it hard compared to people like this.

  2. Indeed. It seems like the whole “self-esteem” thing goes directly against the personality attributes involved in “thinking and acting like an immigrant.”