Four years ago, after a lengthy correspondence with a teacher/guidance counselor in Beijing, I finally went to visit Christine. Christine welcomed me warmly at her school, Huija Private School on the outskirts of Beijing.
After discussing some students who were interested in attending our summer programs, she proudly announced that her 14 year old daughter, Emma was coming to Pittsburgh to study at the wonderful Winchester Thurston school. I enjoy the resurgence of Pittsburgh, but being a serious Philadelphia fan, I suggested that her daughter come and visit me later that day to discuss her USA plans.
That evening, this little 14 year old girl came to visit me for tea and a chat. She told me that she won the competition for the best 14 and Under English speaker in Beijing. Aside from playing the piano and possessing wonderful disciplines, she discussed with me her dream of attending Lower Merion High School which is in a suburb of Philadelphia!
Imagine there we are in Beijing and this little girl tells me that her dream is to study in the suburb which is ten miles from my home!
Well putting two and two together, I realized that she was a besotted Kobe Bryant fan. Kobe attended Lower Merion High School. She then explained to me that she was the head of the Kobe Bryant fan club in China.
I came back to Philadelphia and immediately shared Emma’s dream of her studying in Lower Merion with my business partner Adrian Castelli.
Adrian is on the board of a great private school, Friends Central on the Main Line of Philadelphia near Lower Merion. Adrian made it happen.
Fast forward, here we are at Emma's graduation from High School, very proud “American parents.”
Our job in life is not necessarily to make lots of money but rather to try and help people - I truly believe this is why we are put on earth..
An amazing ride Emma, you even got to meet Kobe as part of your dream and of course kissed the floor of the Staples Center!
It is an honor to be part of your life - from Adrian and I, thank you Emma for this honor.
Good luck with your future, your dreams and aspirations - we hope we will be even more proud of you in the future.