The students in the Bright Futures Afterschool Program shared their stories with us as they prepared for the new school year this fall. Composed by Helena, New American Pathways Summer Advancement Intern and DeKalb County high school student, the voices of five refugee students echo the importance of education, as well as pride in their many accomplishments, in this month’s feature. Our 2020-2021 Middle School Curriculum AmeriCorps Member, Olivia McKellar, says of the students: “I feel extremely proud of the students in our afterschool program. They work hard, they stay curious, and they bring humor and joy that most adults could learn from. When I see their leadership, I’m filled with excitement and optimism for all they will be in the future.”
Rozali is from Burma, born in Hakha where they did not have access to electricity or clean water. After coming to the United States and resettling in Georgia in 2013, Rozali was able to start going to school and excelling as a student. Her favorite things to do outside of school are seeing nature, spending time outside, going to the park, listening to music, going shopping, and hanging out with friends. One of Rozali’s proudest accomplishments included getting all A’s on her report card this year.
Susawney came to the United States in 2010 from Thailand. To her, having the opportunity to go to school is “great since she is able to meet many of her peers from different countries.” Susawney is looking forward to meeting new teachers and classmates in high school this school year. Her favorite memory from afterschool is being in the program for the first time, and quickly going from not knowing anyone to now having many friends.
Eh Taw came to the United States at the age of 2 after his family fled their home in Thailand. Eh Taw is a rising 8th-grade student and shared that education is important to him because he has the opportunity to learn English and communicate with others. This school year, he is looking forward to seeing his friends in-person again and playing soccer during the Bright Futures after school program. When Eh Taw is not in school, he enjoys watching movies and anime, as well as playing video games.
Paw Khee moved to the US about ten years ago and is starting high school this year! Education is very important to Paw Khee because she is able to learn new things and more knowledge also helps her develop better decisions in life. She is looking forward to continuing to become an even better student this academic year and making more friendships now that she will be in high school with new people. Paw Khee’s favorite memories from afterschool are when the teachers assist students with assignments and learn more about each of the students individually.
Charity was born in Burma, where education was limited. After coming to the US she started receiving better education compared to both Burma and Malaysia. One of her proudest accomplishments includes getting into C5, a leadership program where everything they do is to improve leadership skills and improve their community. Charity’s favorite memories from afterschool were the field trips in Atlanta which included visiting the aquarium, zoo, and several museums.
We are so excited to see how each of these students continue to succeed and lead their classmates this school year!