Graduation Speech : An American Born Cambodian

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As an American-born Cambodian, I embrace my culture and share it with those who want to learn more. My parents escaped from the Khmer Rouge in search of political freedom and economic opportunity for themselves and their children in America. As a part of a first-generation immigrant family, I grew up in an environment where many of my peer’s values were different from mine. My family celebrates Chaul Chnam Themey (Cambodian New Year) every year in April where there is a joyful celebration at the temple. We bring along various Cambodian foods such as “num ansom,” a banana rice dessert wrapped in banana leaf, for monks to pray to our ancestors. In high school, I began to meet peers who had similar backgrounds, such as other first generation students, and I gained the confidence to be open about my culture and my experiences in America. Now, in college, my cultural awareness has grown to understanding others’ experiences.

I started my higher education journey at Bellevue College (BC) set on achieving a Business Associate’s degree. My performance in college has changed since attending high school. In high school, I was not as motivated to excel in school work and simply wanted to complete all of my assignments. In college, my determination and drive has risen within myself due to being on campus when I need to whereas in high school, I stayed on campus for at least six hours a day. I am inspired by the professors here and subject contents relevant to my major interest,

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