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Volume 2, Number 10

September 2006 

I received an email recently from a former student who was in several classes I taught during my first couple years of teaching at LAVC back in the last millennium (1997 and 1998). He, like many of my present and former students, came from another country, worked hard here, and achieved success. Several years ago he transferred to a 4 year university. He since has kept in touch with me, mostly via email, though I saw him during one of his visits back to the campus.

I was very moved by his email, and want to share it with you. Before I reproduce his email here (with deletions for privacy reasons), please understand I am not doing so because his email reflects well on me. It does, but frankly this student would have achieved the same (if not greater) success if Bozo the Clown had been his teacher. Rather, my motivation is to share a former student's success story with my current students, and also to remind myself of why I teach.

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Hi Jeff,

This is [name withheld]. I took your Data Structures class back in 1997. I'm not sure if you still remember me.

I have some good news. I've just received my Master degree at San Jose State University on May 2006 and my Master thesis just got published in June. I currently work for Bill Gates here at [city withheld] campus.

I'm applying for the Ph.D. program at Santa Clara University and while I'm arranging the letter of recommendations from my former professors, I ran into a copy of the letter of recommendation that you wrote for me way back when I applied for U.C. Berkeley. It brought back a lot of good memories. I still remember the excitement I got from your class. As a matter of fact, when the human resources staff at Microsoft asked me why I chose this profession, I answered that one of the main reasons was that I was inspired by a professor at Los Angeles Valley College.

You may be not as famous as other professors at U.C. Berkeley and San Jose State, but you have given me much more than all of them have, the inspiration that I carry with me in my whole life. Thank you.

Please send my regards to your wife.

PS: By the way, I married four years ago and my wife also just received her Doctor of Pharmacy degree this May

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My one regret is that I cannot also share this with my parents. My mom was a 30+ year elementary school teacher and math specialist for LAUSD, and always appreciated hearing from her former students, many of whom are now adults with families of their own. My dad was an aerospace engineer, but he also was a teacher, and actually taught part time in LAVC's Engineering Dept. in the early 60s. My dad passed away in 1992, and my mom passed away at the beginning of this year. Without my parents, neither my brother ("my son the doctor") nor I would have achieved the success we have enjoyed. So this ezine is dedicated to the memory of my parents, Arnold and Beatrice Kent.

To see prior Ezines, go to GenghisKhent.com and click the menu "quicklink" to Ezines. To unsubscribe from this publication (though why would you ever want to), email jkent@genghiskhent.com from the email account at which you received this message with the subject line Unsubscribe.