My 30-year Ball High School reunion is this weekend in Galveston, but I’m 10,000-miles away in Adelaide, Australia.

I feel grateful to the Class of 1989 and to Galveston.

My family arrived on the island in 1975 as Vietnamese refugees, and my three older brothers (now surgeons) also graduated from BHS. From the beginning, our stomachs were full thanks to free lunches, and our minds were nurtured thanks to teachers who cared. Our hearts also were warmed by new friends.

It was people like Marsha Alvarez, my first American friend, who found me hiding under a table when I didn’t speak English and whose mother drove me to preschool on rainy days.

Maricruz Rabago Velasco befriended me in middle school, and her parents planned a fundraiser for my service trip to Paraguay. Torey Wilson showed me how much we had in common despite how different we looked.

The Class of 1989 is diverse — we disagree on politics, religion, immigration — even football. But we’re bound by our our school and to our island. So, when we disagree, we still listen and we still wish each other well. That's a gift these days. Thanks to organizer Angela Wilson, our class will be reunited soon. Thank you, Galveston. Thank you, Class of 1989, and have a wonderful reunion.

Tho Bella Dinh-Zarr

BHS Class of 1989 class president, and former vice chairman and board member of the National Transportation Safety Board

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(4) comments

Jose' Boix

What a great way to start the morning with such an uplifting letter by Ms Dinh-Zarr. A tremendous story of a community, school and an immigrant family. A shining example defining the benefits of having an awesome diverse culture. Thank you for sharing your immigrant experiences!

Charles Douglas

Tho> I'm elated that you and your family are prosperous and well. I see where you were the class President at BHS, and also that your brothers are surgeons in the medical profession. Seeing that Vietnamese Refugees like your family had an opportunity to live full lives in peace is why many of my fellow Americans and comrades in arms were willing to risk our lives so others could do what you are doing now,....enjoying a wonderful experience of living. Congratulations on all your accomplishments.

Kelly Naschke

Ball High class of 86 here. It was such a mixing pot of cultures that it was pretty much impossible to graduate without multi cultural friends and appreciation of different cultures.

Paula Flinn

Congratulations, Ball High class of ‘89.

May you have 30 more years to celebrate!

I graduated from Ursuline Academy in 1959!

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