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2006 Winner, Jasminh Duc Schelkopf

My Mom “Thuy”

By Jasminh Duc Schelkopf

International School of Indiana


My mother’s name is Thuy. She was born in Saigon, South Vietnam. Her father was a 3-star Lieutenant General for the South Vietnam military and her family had almost everything that you could possibly think of before the civil war of Vietnam. However, when they lost their country, they lost everything. After the war, all they had left was their hope and beliefs.


In 1975, North Vietnam won the war. When my mother was only twelve years old (8th Grade), she and her brother and sister were forced to go to Canada. The rest of her family was then scattered around the world in places like France, Australia, Canada and the U.S.A. They all had a very tough time there because they had no support and no money as new immigrants.


For seven years after the war, my mother went to school and worked during the evening to help out my grandfather. My mother attended college for only two years because she needed a full time job to support her family. She also went to beauty school, graduated, and worked for the family. Then, having lived in Canada for ten years, my mother realized there was a better future for her in the U.S.A. -- “The Land of Opportunity.” She decided to move to Pennsylvania in 1985.


My mother began hard work at a beauty shop near Philadelphia and she worked hard everyday. Her dreams were to “ONE DAY” create her own salon and reach her many dreams. Due to her talents, she developed many clients and made a lot of friends. She saved as much money as she could and even avoided eating out or going to the movies or doing anything fun that might cost money.


Then her dream of “ONE DAY” had come true when she met my dad, John Bruce. My dad was a very bright young man who was full of energy. With my dad’s knowledge and skills and my mom’s talent, they opened a small beauty salon in Pennsylvania. During this time my Mom also finished her college degree and got her Bachelor’s Degree in Business. My mother also sponsored my grandparents from Canada to the United States. My parents then got married in 1995 to begin a family.


My mother’s dreams came true because she always viewed life as “half of a full glass” and because she found the U.S.A. to truly be the “land of opportunity.” My mother often says to me, “You can do it if you believe in yourself and always try your best.” My mother is only one of the few million Vietnamese immigrants who settled in the United States. But that one particular Vietnamese immigrant is one special immigrant to me as she struggled to overcome many challenges, hard times, and obstacles in her way. She is a special immigrant who I am happy to call “My Mom Thuy.”