ESL student graduates as valedictorian

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by ELISA HAHN / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @ElisaHahnK5

KING5.com

Posted on June 14, 2012 at 11:18 PM

Updated Monday, Jun 18 at 10:15 PM

TACOMA, Wash. -- Among the jittery seniors waiting to walk out at Tacoma's Lincoln high school's graduation, is a 19 year old who is small in stature but big in achievement.

Duc Nguyen moved to the U.S. with his family from Vietnam 4 years ago and didn't speak a word of English. He remembers kids making fun of him and thinking he'd never make it.

But tonight he graduates with a 3.97 GPA and as class valedictorian. He insists his gift isn't intellect. He says he's a slow learner. But he makes up for it by working hard.

His parents never got the chance to go to college and do not speak English. But no language barrier could keep them from appreciating the honor bestowed on Nguyen tonight. They sat in the audience with big smiles as Nguyen gave his speech.

He heads to the University of Washington next year and plans to major in computer science.

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