Entertaining real-life stories with valuable lessons on how to succeed in business and in life
Entertaining and compelling real-life stories. The author is successful business, real estate, and media entrepreneur Dick Kazan.
Published on December 6th 2022
23-years-later, a student thanks his teacher for making a huge difference in his life.

Jamil Jan Kochai
Jamil Jan Kochai Photo: hindustantimes.com

Jamil Jan Kochai, now 30, originally from Pakistan and Afghanistan had the confidence to become a writer because his 2nd grade teacher, Susannah Lung helped him when he was most vulnerable.

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Jamil, of West Sacramento, California at 7 knew nearly no English.

Young Jamil Jan Kochai
Young Jamil Jan Kochai Photo: npr.org

His family emigrated to the U.S. when he was toddler, and he struggled in kindergarten and 1st grade.

"I associated language and learning with punishment, fear and disappointment," he told The Washington Post.

But Ms. Lung rescued him. After school she sat along-side Jamil at his little desk and taught him to read and write in English.

"She showed me that I didn't have to be afraid of it [English], and it could actually be something that I could come to love."

By the end of 2nd grade, thanks to Ms. Lung, Jamil was fluent in English and would prosper.

Many years later, when his first novel, "99 Nights in Logar," was published, he wrote an article praising Ms. Lung, whom he had tried unsuccessfully to locate.

Now retired and living in Elk Grove, California, Ms. Lung's neurologist gave her the article and her husband Allen reached out to Jamil on Facebook.

It was a tearful reunion that began at UC Davis at an event for his latest book, "The Haunting of Hajji Hotak and Other Stories."

Susannah Lung and Jamil Jan Kochai
Susannah Lung and Jamil Jan Kochai Photo: npr.org

Ms. Lung learned Jamil was not only a writer, but like her, an educator, teaching creative-writing courses at UC Davis and Iowa University.

"My father always used to say in Pashto that every child is a rocket filled with fuel and all they need is a single spark to light off into the sky," Jamil wrote on Twitter.

"Ms. Lung...was my spark."

Editor's Note: To learn more washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/2022/08/17/author-jamil-jan-kochai-teacher/

In the next KazanToday: A Dog's Seeing Eye Cat.


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