Monday, January 29, 2007

Cambodian-American Student wins full scholarship to top-choice college

Eric Oeur's family came to the United States as Cambodian refugees. (Photo: STAR-TELEGRAM/RODGER MALLISON)

Mon, Jan. 29, 2007

Paschal senior who helps support family wins full scholarship to top-choice college


FORT WORTH -- Although Eric Oeur works after school to help support his family, the 18-year-old no longer worries about paying for college.

Oeur, a senior at Paschal High School, was recently awarded a four-year scholarship worth more than $160,000 to attend Oberlin College, a prestigious liberal-arts school in Ohio.

Oeur was one of 103 students selected from more than 3,000 applicants in the QuestBridge College Match Program, which recruits talented students who might otherwise not be able to afford college.

"Here's a normal, smart kid, but he also works 30 hours a week to help put food on the table while keeping a great [grade-point average]," said Tim Brady, QuestBridge's CEO. "Those are the kinds of students we look for."

QuestBridge partners with some of the nation's top universities, including Rice, Columbia, Princeton and Stanford.

Oeur's family came to the United States as Cambodian refugees 25 years ago. His father, Phon Oeur, a janitor at Everman High School, has been an inspiration to his son.

"He works so hard," Eric Oeur said. "His mentality gave me the desire to work hard and do the things I want to do."

Eric Oeur, born and raised in Fort Worth, said his family has had a tough time making ends meet since arriving in Texas. His father, who speaks little English, was an elementary school teacher in Cambodia, but his teaching degree is not valid in the U.S.

Eric Oeur began working to help support the family after his mother, Kim Dith Oeur, lost her job.

"I am so proud of him," she said. "He did this all by himself."

Oeur, who speaks Cambodian fluently, said watching his father struggle with the language barrier has motivated him to study languages. He is learning Japanese at Paschal and plans to pursue Eastern Asian studies at Oberlin.

Of the 15 colleges that QuestBridge partners with, Oberlin was Oeur's first choice.

"I did not want to pick a college based just on a name," he said. "Oberlin has a great international program that will allow me to continue work with Fort Worth Sister Cities. The college just fit."

Sandie Camp, a Japanese and French teacher at Paschal, is also involved in Sister Cities and introduced Oeur to the program. She has known him for four years and taught his older brother, Paul, and sister, Jen.

"Eric is a fine student, very creative, very enthusiastic and not afraid to take risks," she said. "He has great people skills, and he is fun."

Melissa Chiasson, Katy Fleury and Jean McMahon, seniors at Paschal and Oeur's best friends, say they will miss hanging out with him.

"We like go to thrift stores and buy tacky T-shirts," Chiasson said. "We also spend a lot of time playing Jeopardy; it gets pretty intense."

McMahon said she will miss Oeur's witty sense of humor and their trips for ice cream.

Fleury said that Ouer has been a whiz kid for years and that she is not surprised he got this scholarship.

"When the computer system would break down at his elementary school, they would call Eric to come take a look," she said.



Eric Oeur, 18, is a senior at Paschal High School. After graduating this spring, he will attend Oberlin College through the QuestBridge College Match Program.

He is a four-time winner of the RadioShack Scholar award, a National Honor Society member and an all-region clarinet player. He is also a member of Fort Worth Sister Cities and a Model U.N. participant.

Oeur works part time at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History as a computer technician. "One time, I opened a computer and it had a big glob of Play-Doh in it," he said.


Anonymous said...

Good Luck and Best wishes!

Anonymous said...

Out of all the trillions that the
US is pooring into Education in
the last decade, there are very
very few out of more than a
millions khmers ever got any
scholarship aids.

And from looking at this loser,
he ain't going to make it any
higher than a low level
recreational park maintenance
staff. He will be a jenator just
like his father is most of his
his life if he managed to stay
out of jail.

Don't call us, let us call you
instead, okay, loser?

Anonymous said...

12:23 AM, get a life. stop being jealous because someone else will be doing better than you. You sounds miserable. Have some words of encouragement for others and it will help you heal.

Anonymous said...

Congratulation,Eric !
All the best to you

Anonymous said...

That was my words of
encouragements, Post1:30, that is
if he continues to work hard, he
might just escaped times behind
bars. Mua ha ha ha ha....

Anonymous said...

Stinky baboon is jealous.

Anonymous said...

LOL, not at him, but at you.

Anonymous said...

Congrat! Eric

Anonymous said...


Congratulation, Eric!

You have done an excellent job so far. This is your last obstacle and I'm pretty sure you are going to top this last one. You know why? Because I went through similar situations and I made it.

Take care and best wishes,

Somlor Ma-Chou Yuon

Anonymous said...

You made it to what, picking up
tin cans and debris off the road?

Anonymous said...

If all Khmers in the states would work hard to be more educated people like him, Khmer will be proud of them, and they can help Khmer in many ways. But general information was provided that many Khmer there are stick into gambling, gange group activities, drug using and dealing, etc. Be more educated is the only way to help Khmer out here, who are suffering from poverty, lack of social and health care, losing their human-being dignity, etc.

Anonymous said...

That baboon is one boring monkey. Everywhere it opens its mouth , it smells miles away. Place or poeple like us is too boring for its. Its needs to go home and play with itself.

Anonymous said...

That is what it is need to keep
your Ethiopian Racists and trouble-
makers away from our holly ground.

Anonymous said...

Congratulation Eric!

As for the baboon Khmer-hater. You need to look in the mirror, then hang yourself for being such a failure. That is what inbreeding can do to you.

Anonymous said...

I did look in the mirror, and all
I see is winner, but when I look
at ah Ethiopian's Svas like you,
all I see is a total losers and
morons. Do you know what I mean?

Anonymous said...

For a second comment and whoever you are, get real. You must be an uneducated, low class, and Khmer gangster who live in Lowell, MA. You're the one dropped out of high school and works as a janitor in holiday inn. That's what you think you're accomplishing your goal. Get loss and go to heaven.

MC Marianita preciosita said...

i've known this guy for almost 3 years... and in that time, he has turned in one of my best friends... even though we live in different countries...

i'm pretty sure he's worth it... and he'll be amazing...

^^ eric... love from Mexico..
your friend... Mariana!