After his father’s death, Jimmy Pham immigrated to the United States with his mother when he was 8. They moved into a small apartment in a struggling urban neighborhood, where Jimmy’s mom worked two jobs to support them. She told her son that by doing well in school and working hard, he would achieve the American Dream.
Jimmy attended the local public school, where academic standards were low and his poor English made him a daily target for bullies. He said his goal each day was to simply “become invisible.” Nearing despair, Jimmy’s mom heard about the ACE Scholarship program, supported by the Daniels Fund. Jimmy was accepted and enrolled at Arrupe High School, an inner-city Catholic school (also a Daniels Fund grantee). Jimmy excelled in the academic and service programs. In his senior year Jimmy applied for the Daniels Scholarship and was selected. He used his scholarship to attend St. Louis University, earning a mechanical engineering degree. Jimmy now works as an engineer on top secret aerospace projects at Boeing.
Two years ago, Jimmy called his mom to say he had saved enough money to provide for her retirement and she no longer needed to work. He recently told a group of ACE Scholarship donors that the day he made that call was the day he achieved the American Dream.