A Silver Lining During Quarantine

Scott, a Jeffco parent and advocate, shared this story on Facebook and is allowing us to share with you here!

Had a really great experience yesterday that I’d like to share. Kind of a silver lining in all this mess…
Yesterday morning I was one of several interviewers for mock interviews with Dakota Ridge HS students.  Last year I volunteered and the interviews were held face-to-face at the school’s library. This year the interviews were conducted via zoom.
Of the 8 kids I interviewed, 1 truly stuck out. He was a Vietnamese senior who recently immigrated to the states about 8 months ago.  There was an obvious language barrier both in his resume and in the actual interview.  He and I both chose our words carefully and spoke slowly so as to understand one another.  Both smiling as we chatted.
As my questions started to get more in-depth, I noticed the struggle to understand me got more intense.  Finally, I pulled out my phone and typed in the questions via Google Translate. Playing it back in his native Vietnamese, his smile broadened and his answers were almost jovial.  I cracked a few jokes in “Vietnamese”… things like “I’m getting fatter.  How’s your quarantine?” and “My pants don’t fit anymore.”  He responded back with, “I’m getting fat, too.  But not as fat as my mom.”  We both rolled in our chairs laughing.
I then asked him about his native home which brought on one of the best parts of our conversation…
“How long have you been in the U.S.?”
  • “Eight months.” (Holding up 8 fingers.)
“And you’re a senior, right?”
  • “Yes. I’m very happy to be senior.”
“Oh Wow.  Good for you.  I’m sorry you won’t get to experience an actual graduation but I hope that will change.”
  • “Yes. Me, too.”
“So what do you miss most about Vietnam?”
  • “I miss my friends the most.”
“Yeah I bet you do.  I hope you’ve made some new ones though.”
  • “Yes.  I made 10.”
“Awesome.”
  • “Yes.  I do miss old friends but I like here.  Here I am free.”
My heart leapt.  I was so happy for him. Then the second best part of our conversation happened.  I told him that we had to wrap things up because I had an interview after his.  His response, “I really wish we could keep talking Mr. Scott.”
I told him he was welcome to email me anytime for any reason.
My take away – I know we’re all dealing with this quarantine garbage: limited toilet paper, mobile teaching, feeling cooped up, lines at the grocer (so we can fill-up a shopping cart and not just get handed a single loaf of bread), partisanship, etc.  Yet here’s a kid in the middle of all of this just happy to be free.