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I am a refugee from the Vietnam War. In my culture, education is a sacred privilege. Teachers are considered to be exemplary citizens which society has entrusted to mold the future generation. The story of how I came over to the United States is one that might have come from the movies. The day that my mother found out that South Vietnam had lost the war, she hurried and packed what valuables she could stuff in an army duffel bag and attempted to leave our village with my baby brother and me. I had an aunt and uncle who were staying with us at the time and my mother asked that they look after me and help me escape the village. It was that fateful moment that I became separated from my mother for twenty-five years. I was a scared little girl standing there in the crowd clutching a transistor radio led by relatives to an awaiting boat crowded with people desperate to flee to freedom. From the boat, we found our way to an airstrip with American cargo planes loading equipment and refugees. I was strapped into the plane and flew to a refugee camps in the Phillipines and than to Guam. When we finally got word that we were going to be sponsored to the United States, we flew to the U.S. and settled in Fremont, Nebraska. It was in this small farming town that I lived my first four years in America and was introduced to the American public school system. I went to school without understanding the English language, but my teachers taught me the language through singing, patience, and encouragement. After four years in Nebraska, my relatives moved to Texas and away from the constant eyes of our sponsors, my home life became a disaster. My relatives did not believe in showing affection or encouragement. I was raised to be a perfect child who was not allowed to share opinions and feelings. I suffered physical and mental abuse at home as a result of my upbringing. My one saving grace was school and especially my teachers. I had the privilege to receive a wonderful public education, but the one thing that I will always honor and cherish is that my teachers all loved me and provided me the emotional support that I did not get at home. They never got mad or hit me if I made a mistake; they encouraged my opinions and my creativity, and most important of all, they instilled in me the love of learning and teaching. It is because of all these wonderful teachers that I decided I would become a teacher in honor of them and their hard work. Each one of my teachers has made a difference in my life and each one of them helped me to survive my childhood. Most of them never knew how much they helped me but in my heart I will always remember them: Mrs. Seibers who talked my relatives into letting me go on a school camping trip; a kindergarten teacher who showed me how to make ice cream from fresh fallen snow; Mr. Mathews who praised my artistic rendition of a fish in science class and Mrs. Bradshaw who allowed me to save my classroom Christmas gift so that I could have something to open up at home on Christmas morning because she knew I didn’t have Christmases at my house. [+]