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Don Kodluboy

Don Kodluboy

Swede Hollow Resident, Mentor and Psychologist

Born: St. Paul, MN, United States
Heritage: European American

If you want to be successful, read. Study hard and read a little bit each day. Read a lot when you can. Always be truthful. Seek help when you need it. Help others who do and you’ll be happy.

Don Kodluboy

Swede Hollow Resident, Mentor and Psychologist

My name is Don Kodluboy. East St. Paul was the land of immigrants from eastern Europe. My family was raised in Swede Hollow.

December 20th, 1947 is when I was born. I went to school with students like me—first generation born in America. Teachers had to speak a different language. The church was a huge part of all communities then.

Schools were segregated. I didn’t understand why. My parents were open-hearted with everyone. They had to go to work after 8th grade and couldn’t even go to high school. They told me that there are no excuses for not doing well.

I am a psychologist. Psychologists study behavior. At the University of Minnesota, there were people who looked after me. I was in college during the Vietnam War. It was a difficult time, and I became active in the anti-war movement.

During that era, I was interested to see what to do to help students with behavior and brain problems. I worked with them to learn how to behave and help others.

My wife and I met teaching in Minneapolis. I became interested in different cultures. I worked in the Native American community, but Asia was my primary interest. I guide the Hmong and help them be successful. We’ve traveled to Laos, Cambodia, and soon Vietnam.

We help build schools and libraries. In Laos you would be lucky to have a school like this. You would sit at tables and benches that you make yourself. School is a very special privilege in most countries. My parents often said, “You are so lucky to be here and have what you have.” Now I know what they meant. That’s why your teachers push you so hard to do well.

I also went from California to British Columbia and wrote a book on street gangs. We know that students who have a reliable adult in their life are more likely to succeed. It’s also important to pick good friends.

My goal is to make a difference with children. It is a fun and good life. Mentors will be the most important people in your life. Start with your teachers. Now that I am retired, I like to choose what I want to do.

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Honoring Don Kodluboy

There’s No Excuses

There’s no excuses, no excuses, no excuses, no excuses
There’s no excuses now for not doing well

My people came, from up in the mountains
My people were farmers, trained white stallions
Came to America, to St. Paul
That’s where I lived. Since I was small
With new immigrants in Suede Hollow
From Eastern Europe, soon to follow
More immigrants from Southeast Asia
Mexico, Somalia, Guatemala
The school I went to was about the same size
But it was different, segregated
The whites went here, the blacks went there
If Latino, everywhere
In 6th grade began to study
Neuron-science, Dream to Discovery
Psychology grabbed my attention
Hippocrates, Galen the Physician
When I was younger, studied Judo
Was uncommon in Minnesota
When I was thirteen my best friends were
From Korea and Japan
Civil rights movement, just beginning
With few channels on television
Everything live. Learned about it
Then went to college, started marching
Found a mentor and a teacher
He dropped titles, names of authors
Have you read this? He would ask
Have you ever considered doing that?
What he told me I would do
The more I listened the more I knew
To study harder and read more
Give your life to help the poor
Became a doctor of Psychology
When I retired went to Yosemite
Along Big Sur my friends I called
So they could hear the waterfall
There’s so much beauty. Do not hang
Your life up in a gang
I’ve known children, younger than you
Who didn’t listen. Their life is through
To love somebody, takes courage too
When your friends get mad at you
Speak the truth, don’t let it slide
When someone shoots. Someone will die
Study hard, read a little bit
Every day, when you need it
Seek help from others, as others do
You will be happy. I know it’s true

Words & music by Larry Long with Leah Price’s 5th Grade Class of North Park Elementary School
(Columbia Heights, Minnesota)

© Larry Long 2007 / BMI