I arrived to this country as a refugee three years ago and Ms. Brandy Moore welcomed me at Central High School with kindness and support. I am from the Congo and I spent years in a refugee camp in Rwawnda before arriving to Rhode Island. I couldn't read or speak English upon my arrival but Ms. Moore would stay with me in the library or her classroom after school, helping me to improve my English skills. School wasn’t easy at first and I had a bad grade in English as well as a few of my other classes. But Ms. Moore was relentless. She saw a future in me and helped me to build the confidence I needed to never give up. She continued to teach and support me until I caught up with the rest of my cohort in English language skills. I remember one morning, my guidance counselor called me and said, “Congrats, Jean! You made it on the honor roll because you got straight A’s!” I was elated. I thought of Ms. Moore, and could not thank her enough. As a result, I not only improved my grades, but I also blazed through freshman, sophomore and junior levels in just two years. Then one more thing: Ms. Moore discovered that I loved writing and poetry and that I wanted to use my voice to share my story about my experiences as a refugee. She gave me a platform to explore my newfound passion and skill. Below is one of the poems that I wrote about Central High School during sophomore year in her class.
Central High School
Then, my dreams! You are my future, A mountain top, A sun that draws us towards education... Like you taught me, reading, writing, speaking, thinking That allowed me to hang on to the mountain and receive your knowledge You are the way that leads us to the truth and love! You showed me your support and let me share what I have experienced with others! Together, we will touch the start.
In a nutshell, Ms. Moore inspired me to work hard in my school. As a result of her help, I joined the senior mentorship program at Central High School and became an active leader. I was thrilled to have her as a teacher again for my American literature class my senior year. She helped me to edit my college essays and my Roger Williams scholarship essay, as well as my senior presentation. What a blessing to be part of the Class of 2017. I am so very thankful for Ms. Moore’s support. She didn’t just help me academically but she encouraged me—and believed in me—in a way that helped me to find the confidence I needed to succeed . As a refugee who did not know anybody, I had to start my life as a student from scratch. I was awed by Ms. Moore’s kindness. This short essay is a small way for me to say thank you. So, thank you so much Ms. Brandy Moore. I would not be where I am today—a college student in America—without you.
Knight Jean Yves Muhingabo is a refugee who was born in the Congo and spent years in a Rwandan refugee camp before arriving to Rhode Island in 2015. He graduated from Central High School in Providence in 2017 and just finished his freshman year at Rhode Island College. He is also very involved with the local refugee community and a recipient of the $20,000 Roger Williams scholarship from the ...