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Paying Back Land of Opportunity

Y Minh Pham is like many who came before him--immigrants who arrived in this country hungry for freedom and opportunity and filled with skills and spirit that have made the nation stronger.

Y Minh, a 17-year-old student at Westminster High School, arrived here from Vietnam five years ago after his father was released from a concentration camp. Now, even though only a junior in high school, he has been accepted at Harvard University.

Harvard was so impressed that it admitted him immediately and, depending on advanced placement exams, in September he could jump from being a junior in high school to a sophomore at Harvard. Y Minh presently has the second-highest grade-point average in the entire school district, which includes six high schools. His brilliance is an inspiration to other students, refugee and native-born alike.

Y Minh is not a taker. He says he is grateful to the United State and Westminster High School for his educational opportunities. And he is considering a career in medicine or government because he thinks either of those fields will enable him to help pay back his adopted country. But he has already paid it back--just by being here.

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