Thursday, May 15, 2008

Student Spotlight

The morning ESL program is gifted by the presence of Hooshang Nayak, a retired diesel locomotive engineer, who moved to the United States from his native Iran more than 20 years ago.

Hooshang got his feet wet with using computers as a tool for practicing English when he made a video resume in the Vocational ESL class. His interest was sparked, and Hooshang was hooked, spending late nights at home learning more about PowerPoint and Movie Maker. Hooshang’s natural abilities with and interest in technology led him to enroll in the ESL Digital Storytelling class, which was first offered Spring 2008.

Hooshang’s father himself was an immigrant in Iran, having come from India, and owned a movie theater there. As a young boy, Hooshang helped his father, much like the father and son in the Italian film “Cinema Paradiso.” Now, at the age of 85, Hooshang said his boyhood dream of “making movies” is a reality.

In his first digital story, “Good or Bad Story,” Hooshang narrates an Iranian folk story his mother told him, whose message is universal: What goes around comes around. Hooshang has since translated and remade the digital story in his native language, Farsi, and has shared it with his grandchildren, who also live in the U.S., as a way of preserving the story. More recently Hooshang has collaborated long distance with his daughter, an artist living in New York City whose artwork he featured in the digital story, to tell the story of his own father.

As Hooshang demonstrates, it is never to late to learn English, learn to use computers, and use digital storytelling as a means to capture, safeguard, and commemorate the past and the people who have shaped who we are.


nooshi nayak said...

I applaud my Father for his courage and perseverance to attend and participate in these classes. I am so proud of him.
Many thanks to you for giving him the spot light. Your class has given my Father a new tool that has allowed him to express himself, sparked his imagination and creativity, and a newly gained confidence. Thank you for all your kind attention.

Faranak Ravon said...

This is great Hooshang (AKA Amir) Khaan! Yes, Kourosh and I are also very proud of your latest accomplishment! I would LOVE to see your work 'Good or Bad Story'.
I wish it was featured in this posting. Or is it, and I can't access it?
Keep up the great work!

Hassan said...

I have the pleasure of knowing Mr.Nayak for many years now. He is among the few gentlemen who is a survivor and a fighter from within. Being an immigrant in the middle age is more challenging for a typical male figure compare to female figure. The female, mother, primary responsibility, taking care of the emotional needs of the children, is not impeded by immigrating since the language/newCountry does not play a role in it. However, this is not the case for a typical male figure since his primary responsibility of taking care of the financial needs of the family is effected due to new language, culture.
There are a few great men that surpass this difficulties and have the inner strength to over come the challenges . Mr. Nayak is truly a role model and his story needs share with every one who is not satisfied with status quo and seeks to employ his brain power at any age. I am proud of his current achievement and look forward to his next endower.
Hassan Karraby

kristidem said...


Scroll down a little to see Hooshang's digital story. Then, just click on the arrow to play it. If you cannot see it, it could be that your computer is missing the program. Email me, and I'd be happy to email you the digital story!