Photo – Eh Eh Wha with Carolyn Smyth, Youth Programs Manager. Sharon Kennedy/The IRC
On Tuesday, June 12, 2012, twenty participants of the IRC Students Plus Program graduated from Crawford High School. Among the proud graduates was Eh Eh Wha (pictured with IRC Youth Programs Manager Carolyn Smyth). Eh Eh’s graduation is extra special as she is the first Karen student to graduate from Crawford! Eh Eh is of the Karen ethnic group of Burma (Myanmar).
The Karen people are an ethnic minority from Burma who has been heavily persecuted by the military government in Burma. In the past 5 years, hundreds of Karen people have resettled in San Diego through the US Refugee Program.
Eh Eh she spent her childhood in a refugee camp in Thailand. Both her parents passed away when she was very young and she was raised by relatives. She arrived to San Diego in 2007 and started the 9th grade even though she did not speak a word of English.
Eh Eh was determined to do well in school and immediately got connected with the IRC Students Plus Program. Students Plus provides academic and moral support each day after school at Crawford. The first year, Eh Eh received extra help with English every day from an IRC teacher. As her English improved, she came to the IRC program to receive help with her homework.
Eh Eh also participated in the IRC Peacemakers Club, learning public speaking skills and presenting at other high schools to share what it was like to grow up in a refugee camp. Eh Eh is an excellent gardener and serves as a Garden Manager at the IRC School Garden on the Crawford Campus.
Next year, Eh Eh will attend City College. She received a Price Scholarship to help pay for fees and books as well as a laptop through an IRC Scholarship.
Congratulations Eh Eh and best of luck in the future!
Photo: Eh Eh Wha with IRC Youth Programs Staff and Volunteers Sharon Kennedy/The IRC
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