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Congrats Class of 2021!

We at World Releif Chicagoland are so incredibly proud of the senior class of 2021. You faced challenge upon challenge and have done an amazing job!


Ahmad Marie

Name of High School West Aurora High School

Home Country – Syria

How many years have you lived in the United States? 4 years 10 months

What has been your favorite subject? Physics

What do you enjoy doing most? What clubs have you been involved with at school? I liked gym class the most because I could be active and play sports. I was involved in Global Minds.

What do you think has been your biggest achievement in the U.S.? (e.g. graduating, high GPA, learning English, making friends, getting a good job, succeeding in sports, etc.) – My biggest achievement has been going to work and going to school at the same time. Other accomplishments have been graduating high school and learning English.

If you are attending college, where are you planning to go? I applied for FAFSA but think I am going to take a break before beginning college. I am undecided.

What are your plans/dreams for the future? Degree? Career? Profession? Apprenticeship? – My dream has been to become an actor. However, a more realistic plan for my future is to become a consultant.

If you would like, you may write a thank you to anyone who has helped you along the way. (e.g. Family, Teachers, Friends, Mentors, etc.)I would like to thank my guidance counselor, Ms. Orchard, and my brother, Mohammad, for helping me.

Messages to Graduate:

Ahmad: I never doubted you’d graduate: Mrs. Orchard

Ahmad, You did it! Congratulations! I am so proud of all you have achieved. Ms. Hayes

You impressed us all from day 1. I’m so proud of you. I can’t wait to see what you achieve in the future! Good luck! – Ms. Wawak


Ashal Tamang

Name of High SchoolWest Aurora High School

Home CountryNepal

How many years have you lived in the United States?8 years

What has been your favorite subject? – Math and Gym

What do you enjoy doing most? What clubs have you been involved with at school? At school, I enjoyed staying after and getting help with homework and talking to new people. Outside of school, I enjoy playing soccer and hanging out with my friends.

What do you think has been your biggest achievement in the U.S.? (e.g. graduating, high GPA, learning English, making friends, getting a good job, succeeding in sports, etc.) My biggest achievements have been learning English and making new friends.

If you are attending college, where are you planning to go? I am currently working and applying for The National Guard. After, I will probably attend college.

What are your plans/dreams for the future? Degree? Career? Profession? Apprenticeship? I hope to start a family and have children.

If you would like, you may write a thank you to anyone who has helped you along the way. (e.g. Family, Teachers, Friends, Mentors, etc.) . – I would like to thank all of my teachers for helping me at school and I’d also like to thank my mother.

Messages to the Graduate:

Ashal, you have always been a gentleman during our meetings and I wish you luck after you graduate! – Mrs. Cochran

Ashal, You are such a kind-hearted person. You always inspired me to have a grateful spirit and a positive attitude. Congrats on your achievement! – Ms. Hayes


Benjamin Caquesse

Name of High School – West Aurora High School

Home Country- Angola

How many years have you lived in the United States? 5 ½ years, since 2015

What has been your favorite subject? Gym!

What do you enjoy doing most? What clubs have you been involved with at school? I enjoy playing video games.

What do you think has been your biggest achievement in the U.S.? (e.g. graduating, high GPA, learning English, making friends, getting a good job, succeeding in sports, etc.) Finishing High School, making a lot of friends. Also, I got the phenomenal man award.

If you are attending college, where are you planning to go? Waubonsee

What are your plans/dreams for the future? Degree? Career? Profession? Apprenticeship? I want to get a degree in Business Management and start my own company someday.

If you would like, you may write a thank you to anyone who has helped you along the way. (e.g. Family, Teachers, Friends, Mentors, etc.) I mean ALL my EL teachers and Ms. Orchard. They are the best! Especially Ms. Hayes. She helped me a LOT.

Messages to the Graduate:

Ben: You are wise beyond your years: Mrs. Orchard

Ben, I loved having you in class. You always had great insight. I can’t wait to see all you will accomplish. Ms. Hayes

Congrats! You’ve grown so much. I’m proud of how you’ve matured and all you’ve accomplished. Good job! – Ms. Wawak

Even though I never had the pleasure of having you in class, I enjoyed getting to know you here and there over the years. You work hard to do well in your classes, and I wish you the best of luck next year! Mrs. Tres


Bibi Haisha Kabir

Name of High School – West Aurora High School

Home Country – Afghanistan

How many years have you lived in the United States? 4 years (almost)

What has been your favorite subject? My favorites are graphic design and math.

What do you enjoy doing most? What clubs have you been involved with at school? I like to walk and go shopping. I have been involved with Homework Club.

What do you think has been your biggest achievement in the U.S.? (e.g. graduating, high GPA, learning English, making friends, getting a good job, succeeding in sports, etc.) I have finished school and plan to start college.

If you are attending college, where are you planning to go? Waubonsee

What are your plans/dreams for the future? Degree? Career? Profession? Apprenticeship? Graphic design and IT

If you would like, you may write a thank you to anyone who has helped you along the way. (e.g. Family, Teachers, Friends, Mentors, etc.) The first I thank Cyndi and World Relief. The next, I thank my teachers and my counselor.

Messages to the Graduate:

Haisha : You may be the most determined student this year! Mrs. Orchard

Haisha, You have worked so hard this year. When things were hard you never gave up! Congratulations! Ms. Hayes

You made it! Good work, Haisha! – Ms. Wawak

Continue working hard and advocating for yourself. Do not say or believe that anything is too difficult for you. If you work hard, I know you can achieve anything because I have seen you doubt yourself and then prove yourself wrong time and time again. So let’s skip that first part moving forward and just go into post-high school life knowing that if you work hard, you will be able to achieve whatever you want. I have loved getting to know you over the past four years and seeing you improve your English. Mrs. Tres

Haisha is the sweetest and politest students ever to set foot in my class. Haisha is able to understand what needs to get done and is able to complete the tasks in her own way and that is a skill every high school student should have when they leave this building. Mr. Arroyo


Erik Riabyi

Name of High School – Barrington High School

Home Country – Ukraine

How many years have you lived in the United States? – 1 year

What has been your favorite subject? Creative Writing

What do you enjoy doing most? What clubs have you been involved with at school? – During the second semester of high school I enjoyed helping video production class, and filming the sports games at our school.

What do you think has been your biggest achievement in the U.S.? (e.g. graduating, high GPA, learning English, making friends, getting a good job, succeeding in sports, etc.) – In the US my biggest achievement was my experiences at high school, and meeting a lot of new people. During this year I learned a lot of new cultural differences and was able to face it.

If you are attending college, where are you planning to go? – Harper College

What are your plans/dreams for the future? Degree? Career? Profession? Apprenticeship? – United States is a country with lot of different opportunities, therefore we can be anyone we want. At this moment I don’t know where and who I will be. But first of all graduated from college and marine corps.

If you would like, you may write a thank you to anyone who has helped you along the way. (e.g. Family, Teachers, Friends, Mentors, etc.) . – I want to thank first of all the workers of World Relief Organization who helped us and cared about us. They were first, who we saw and made a contact with when we came here. For us they were representative of whole country. And trust me, they showed a country in best way. I also want to thank Katie Rogers, my children and youth coordinator, for helping me with problems, and for creating a English and tutoring programs. Emily Miller, best family case manager for helping with documents, questions and all processes that need to be done. Nicholas Rosenfeld great tutor and friend for helping me with the school stuff and incomprehensible cultural moments for me.


Jeannette Nyahoza

Name of High School West Aurora High School

Home Country – Congo

How many years have you lived in the United States? 4 years

What has been your favorite subject? Math and science!

What do you enjoy doing most? What clubs have you been involved with at school? The clubs I’ve been with is Global Minds and I do homework club. Outside school, sometimes I write some stories.

What do you think has been your biggest achievement in the U.S.? (e.g. graduating, high GPA, learning English, making friends, getting a good job, succeeding in sports, etc.) When I came into the USA, I didn’t know any English. I didn’t know what my teachers were asking. Right now I am really, really happy I can understand what they are asking. I did make a lot of friends. I am graduating!

If you are attending college, where are you planning to go? Waubonsee

What are your plans/dreams for the future? Degree? Career? Profession? Apprenticeship? Nursing!

If you would like, you may write a thank you to anyone who has helped you along the way. (e.g. Family, Teachers, Friends, Mentors, etc.) I want to thank all the ELL teacher for all the help they have been giving me. I really appreciate the time they have spent tutoring me after school. I felt like I would never understand anything I was learning, but they didn’t let me give up. I’m so happy that you were all my teachers. Thank you for all the kindness you have showed me.

Messages to the Graduate:

Jeannette: I’ll never forget your smile: Mrs. Orchard

Jeanette, You always made me laugh! You have grown so much this year! Best of luck in the future! Ms. Hayes

You’re so smart and such a hard worker. I’m proud of you! I’ll miss you!- Ms. Wawak

Jenny is a very smart student and no one can tell me otherwise. Jenny can do science, math and even English and will always be willing to help other students. Jenny has a bright future and I know she could do anything she chose to do. Mr. Arroyo

Watching you grow up over the past four years has been so much fun. I remember when you were a freshman and you would come to my room every day 5th period to work on math. It was evident how smart you were; you just didn’t always have the English to express it yet. Nonetheless, as the years continued, I got to see what a star student you were. Not only did you excel in my class as a student, but you also excelled as a helper. Other students started asking you questions, knowing that you were doing great in my class. Your junior year, I would pull you from study hall to help with a couple freshman and you would teach them math in Swahili/French. This year, I needed you again and you came and once again, helped teach the freshmen in ways that I can’t. I still believe you would make a phenomenal teacher. I don’t know a single teacher at this school who speaks Swahili, and I would love for that to change. You have such a gift for sharing your knowledge with others. Even if you don’t become a teacher, I know you are going to do great things in the world, and I am so excited to watch you do so. Best of luck next year, come back and visit, and if you change your mind, would love to teach alongside you someday. Mrs. Tres


Mung Siam

Name of High SchoolWest Aurora High School

Home CountryMyanmar

How many years have you lived in the United States? 4 years

What has been your favorite subject? PE

What do you enjoy doing most? What clubs have you been involved with at school? – I enjoy playing soccer and was a part of soccer club.

What do you think has been your biggest achievement in the U.S.? (e.g. graduating, high GPA, learning English, making friends, getting a good job, succeeding in sports, etc.) – My biggest achievements have been learning English, making new friends, playing sports, and graduating high school.

If you are attending college, where are you planning to go? – I am not sure about college yet.

What are your plans/dreams for the future? Degree? Career? Profession? Apprenticeship? – First, I plan to join the army. After a few years, I plan to go to college.

If you would like, you may write a thank you to anyone who has helped you along the way. (e.g. Family, Teachers, Friends, Mentors, etc.) . – I would like to thank the World Relief staff members for helping my family in the first place. I would also like to thank Cyndi, who helped with all of my school.

Messages to the Graduate:

Mung: You are very stoic and you did it! Mrs. Orchard

Mung, I will miss your humor in class. Best of luck in the future! Ms. Hayes

Great job! I’m proud of you! – Ms. Wawak

Some of my favorite memories from our class the past couple of years are from watching you and Akash work together. Sometimes, teachers cannot let students sit with their friends because they get too distracted, but you and Akash always pushed each other and helped each other to do better, all while keeping up a friendly banter. Congratulations on your graduation, and best of luck next year! – Mrs. Tres

Mung is one of THE hardest workers in the bunch and not only does he understand things quickly he is able to interpret things and help his friends. Mung is a very smart and funny and has a very strong outlook after High school and I know he can accomplish so much! Mr. Arroyo


Sarmila Tamang

Name of High SchoolWest Aurora High School

Home Country – Nepal

How many years have you lived in the United States? 4 ½ years

What has been your favorite subject? English

What do you enjoy doing most? What clubs have you been involved with at school? Playing guitar. I joined Global Minds.

What do you think has been your biggest achievement in the U.S.? (e.g. graduating, high GPA, learning English, making friends, getting a good job, succeeding in sports, etc.) Learning English.

If you are attending college, where are you planning to go? I want to go to Cosmetology School.

What are your plans/dreams for the future? Degree? Career? Profession? Apprenticeship? I will finish Cosmetology School and open a salon.

If you would like, you may write a thank you to anyone who has helped you along the way. (e.g. Family, Teachers, Friends, Mentors, etc.) I want to thank Mr. Berg and Ms. Hayes the most.

Messages for the Graduate:

Sarmila: Sarmila stands for sweetness: Mrs. Orchard

Sarmila, You have a heart of gold. I will miss seeing you in class. Ms. Hayes

I’m so proud of you! You have a bright future ahead of you. I’ll miss you! – Ms. Wawak

Sarmila is a great student to have in the class, she is able to ask questions and help her classmates understand the material as well. Sarmila had no problem admitting she needed extra assistance or asking for help and that has only helped her improve and become a better student! Mr. Arroyo

Watching you grow up over the past four years has been so much fun. I remember when you were a freshman in my class, so it is crazy to think that you are a senior now! You are so kindhearted, and one of my favorite things about you is that even though you act shy sometimes around other students you don’t know, you are always willing to start up a conversation and be a friend to anyone. I love that you are learning Spanish and that you would have conversations with the native Spanish speakers in class to practice your skills. Best of luck next year!! Mrs. Tres


Sherwan Nouman

Name of High School West Aurora High School

Home Country Syria

How many years have you lived in the United States? 4 years

What has been your favorite subject? – Math

What do you enjoy doing most? What clubs have you been involved with at school? I had fun in PE.

What do you think has been your biggest achievement in the U.S.? (e.g. graduating, high GPA, learning English, making friends, getting a good job, succeeding in sports, etc.)My biggest achievement is graduating high school.

If you are attending college, where are you planning to go? I want to go to Waubonsee.

What are your plans/dreams for the future? Degree? Career? Profession? Apprenticeship? – I want to work in computer security.

If you would like, you may write a thank you to anyone who has helped you along the way. (e.g. Family, Teachers, Friends, Mentors, etc.) . – I would like to thank Ms. Ready for her help.

Messages for the Graduate:

Sherwan is the person who can demonstrate grit and determination. Sherwan is able to succeed in all of his class and is more than willing to put the time and work into them. Sherwan has no issues with asking for help and will even do extra work to demonstrate his skills toward any given task. Mr. Arroyo

Sherwan, You have matured so much this year and have worked so hard this year to advocate for yourself! I am going to miss your laugh next year. Ms. Hayes

Good job! I’m proud of you. – Ms. Wawak

You have the most contagious laugh; when you laugh, everyone wants to laugh along with you. It has been fun to see how much your English has improved since you were a freshman, and I am so excited to see the amazing things you do in the years to come. Congratulations on your graduation! Mrs. Tres


Thang Sian San Cing

Name of High School West Aurora High School

Home Country Myanmar

How many years have you lived in the United States? 2.5 years

What has been your favorite subject? – Math

What do you enjoy doing most? What clubs have you been involved with at school? At school, I enjoyed working on homework with my teachers. Outside of school, I enjoy being outside with my friends and family. I was not involved in any clubs.

What do you think has been your biggest achievement in the U.S.? (e.g. graduating, high GPA, learning English, making friends, getting a good job, succeeding in sports, etc.) – My biggest achievements have been graduating high school and receiving a literacy award.

If you are attending college, where are you planning to go? I will attend Waubonsee Community College.

What are your plans/dreams for the future? Degree? Career? Profession? Apprenticeship? – I plan to work in healthcare.

If you would like, you may write a thank you to anyone who has helped you along the way. (e.g. Family, Teachers, Friends, Mentors, etc.) – I would like to thank World Relief, all of my teachers, and Ms. Orchard. School was very challenging for me and everyone showed me compassion. I would also like to thank my family for supporting me.

Messages for the Graduate:

Thang- I am so proud of your efforts and determination this year. Your resilience is inspiring and I know you will go on to do great things. I wish you the best of luck! – Mrs. Cochran

Thang, I love how dedicated you are to your studies. Congratulations on your achievement! Ms. Hayes

You did it! I’m proud of you! – Ms. Wawak

At the beginning of the semester, Thang was so unsure of herself when writing in my class; I struggled to get her to turn things in on time because of it. But, by the end of the semester, she truly began to believe in herself, I think. Though a tad quiet, Thang has such a knack for stringing sentences together to form a really wonderful idea. She probably does not even trust in her own abilities to do so, but I truly enjoyed reading what she had to say whenever a writing assignment was due. Many of our students could learn something about diligence from her! Mr. Moore


Uwase Irankunda

Name of High SchoolWest Aurora High School

Home Country – Rwanda

How many years have you lived in the United States? 5 years

What has been your favorite subject? Science and math. I love math.

What do you enjoy doing most? What clubs have you been involved with at school? After school, first I do my homework. Second, I mean, I’m a girl- I clean the house. And I LOVE reading – even though reading in English is very hard – I still love it. I was involved with Global Minds and Homework Club.

What do you think has been your biggest achievement in the U.S.? (e.g. graduating, high GPA, learning English, making friends, getting a good job, succeeding in sports, etc.) Learning English! First – graduating of course! Second of all meeting friends and teachers.

If you are attending college, where are you planning to go? Waubonsee first.

What are your plans/dreams for the future? Degree? Career? Profession? Apprenticeship? Nursing! Nursing has been my dream! I can’t wait to achieve it.

If you would like, you may write a thank you to anyone who has helped you along the way. (e.g. Family, Teachers, Friends, Mentors, etc.) To say all the thank you’s, this is like 10 paragraphs WITH essays.

Mrs. Cyndi, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for coming into my family life. You have been helping us from day one till now. Thank you for always checking up on us. I learned a lot from you, which really helps me to become a better person. I am right now thanking you for everything you have done for my family. You are the best and I wish you nothing but happiness.

To all my ELL teachers I want to use this opportunity to thank you for all you have taught me since I came to high school. I know it is your job, but I still feel very happy to meet all of you. I wish you all the best in y’all life and thank you for being amazing teachers. I’m very grateful.

I want to thank Mrs. Tres for always listening to me, supporting me, and encouraging me. You are truly the best amazing teacher. I want you to know how much I appreciate you. Everything you have been teaching me; even though I may not remember everything you taught me, I will remember how special you were. There were times I felt like I’m going to give up in school, but you set me down and listened to my problems and you helped me a lot. I can’t thank you enough and thank you for believing in me.

Messages for the Graduate:

Uwase: I love your spirit! Mrs. Orchard

Uwase, You make me smile every day. I will miss your sense of humor and the joy you always carry. Best of luck! Ms. Hayes

Woohoo you made it! You’ve worked so hard. I’m proud of you. – Ms. Wawak

Uwase was never my student, but we have worked together throughout the years to help her become a stronger student. Uwase is a very social person and is able to make friends with anyone and that is a great skill to have leaving High School. Uwase will always be remembered as the student with a smile and the ability to talk with anyone who needed a friend. Mr. Arroyo

Uwase! You are such a hard worker. Ever since the day I met you your sophomore year, I have been so impressed by the amount of time and effort you put into your school work, even when it does not come easy. Your classes in college are going to be difficult, but I know that if you put the same amount of time and energy into advocating for yourself and into your studies, you are going to do great. I have loved getting to know you over the past 3 years. You make me laugh and you are so kind to other students, even ones you don’t know well. Congratulations! Mrs. Tres

Uwase is so funny. Whenever I spoke with her, I knew I would probably laugh at some point. The first few weeks I had her in class, I kept telling her, “Please come see me if you need help!” Even so, she never came. One day, though, another teacher dragged her to my room… She spent an hour with me with one of the other EL students, and since then, I haven’t been able to get her to go away! She has such an ability to make others smile, especially when she pops her head around the door and shouts your name as if she knows you have been waiting for her. I will miss her sassiness for sure. –Mr. Moore


Yousif Abduljabbar

Name of High School – West Aurora High School

Home Country – Iraq

How many years have you lived in the United States? 4 years

What has been your favorite subject? My favorite subject to study was economics because it taught us how economics work and how to save money.

What do you enjoy doing most? What clubs have you been involved with at school? I haven’t been involved with clubs at school. The most thing I enjoyed inside school was playing different games in gym, like soccer and basketball. When I’m outside of school, I like to sometimes read books, hang out with friends, go to Funway to skate, play soccer, and I like to walk.

What do you think has been your biggest achievement in the U.S.? (e.g. graduating, high GPA, learning English, making friends, getting a good job, succeeding in sports, etc.) My biggest achievement has been to come to the high school and graduate. My English, I didn’t know anything, but my teachers helped me and I’m going to graduate in a week.

If you are attending college, where are you planning to go? I would like to go to Chicago University.

What are your plans/dreams for the future? Degree? Career? Profession? Apprenticeship? I plan to learn about computer languages and coding. I would like to buy a house and get a good job.

If you would like, you may write a thank you to anyone who has helped you along the way. (e.g. Family, Teachers, Friends, Mentors, etc.) I would like to thank my EL teachers for teaching me English because without them, I can’t learn anything. I would also like to thank my mom because she is working every day to offer me what I want.

Messages for the Graduate:

Yousif: I am proud of how hard you worked this year: Mrs. Orchard

Yousif, I always loved hearing your perspective on things in class. I can’t wait to hear about your future successes. Ms. Hayes

Congrats! You’re very bright. Keep working hard and you can go far!- Ms. Wawak

Yousif definitely did not start high school as a strong student, but throughout his time in High School I saw a huge change in him both academically and mentally. I see Yousif advocating for himself, staying after school to achieve his goals and becoming a stronger student. He has nothing but determination to help him get where he needs to go! Mr. Arroyo

Yousif, this is going to sound crazy, but I am SO happy you failed geometry last semester. If you wouldn’t have failed geometry, I wouldn’t have had you in my after-school course this semester. I have had so much fun discussing different careers with you and talking about coding and math applications. I love the way you think about and process the world around you. You have grown so much not only as a student but also as a human being over these past four years, and I feel so blessed to have gotten to witness all of it. Keep working hard, questioning the world around you, and pushing yourself to be the best and smartest version of yourself that you can be. Mrs. Tres


Zolzaya Adiya

Name of High School West Aurora High School

Home Country – Mongolia

How many years have you lived in the United States? 2 years

What has been your favorite subject? My favorites are Math, Chemistry, and Biology

What do you enjoy doing most? What clubs have you been involved with at school? Volleyball, Homework Club

What do you think has been your biggest achievement in the U.S.? (e.g. graduating, high GPA, learning English, making friends, getting a good job, succeeding in sports, etc.) Learning English

If you are attending college, where are you planning to go? Waubonsee

What are your plans/dreams for the future? Degree? Career? Profession? Apprenticeship? Study medicine and become a doctor/surgeon.

If you would like, you may write a thank you to anyone who has helped you along the way. (e.g. Family, Teachers, Friends, Mentors, etc.) Ms. Tres, Mr. Arroyo

Messages for the Graduate:

Zolzaya: Your efforts speak loudly even though you are soft spoken: Mrs. Orchard

Zolzaya, You have come so far! It is amazing to see all you have accomplished in such a short time! Congrats! Ms. Hayes

Zaya was very shy her first year at the school, but now as a senior she is a different person. She speaks with everyone now and her English has improved so much! Zaya is very smart and becoming more confident in her skills and that is a positive thing she shows her classmates as they can see that anything can be possible! Mr. Arroyo

Adiya – I am SO sad that I only had 2 years with you, but it has been so much fun having you in class. I love your love for math and appreciate you helping other students with math as well. You have showed me how hard of a worker you are this year in your non-EL classes like Film as Literature and Health. I am so proud of you for all that you have accomplished in your two short years here in the United States. Mrs. Tres

Zolzaya is someone who always has questions. Whenever she would come to my room, whether it was by accident or design, she would inevitably begin to ask me questions about myself. “Mister, what is that ring? Are you married? Mister, did you really live in Korea? Mister, do you like BTS?” Even now that school is over, it continues! The day after her last day, she messaged me on Schoology asking me a question about graduation. Zaya truly wants to get to know those around her and her warmth is infectious. I will miss her! Mr. Moore


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