Wednesday, December 07, 2005

An American Tale


The odds weren't good.

A second-class citizen in communist Vietnam, the daughter of a man who'd fought on the losing side of the Vietnam War, Xuan-Trang Ho was the youngest of a 10-member family that farmed to stay alive.

No electricity, no plumbing, half-days of school.

The family arrived in Lincoln [Nebraska] on a snowy December day almost 11 years ago with no money and no English.

As she hurtled through Lincoln's school system, mastering the language by leaps and bounds, Ho ignored those odds.

Now the 21-year-old has earned an award only 32 of the country's elite collegiate scholars are chosen for each year.

"My parents wished for the best, but even they didn't expect me to be a Rhodes scholar," Ho said. "I just thought, 'Wow — how did that really happen?' "