4th Grade girls were awed and inspired by a visit from Achol Odolla, a 20-year-old Stevenson University student who fled Ethiopia when she was 7 years old. Achol shared with the students her story of how as one of six children, she and her family walked for miles to Kenya to escape the crisis in Ethiopia. They all stayed in a refugee camp in Kenya until she was 13 years old. Food and water were scarce and often she was hungry and thirsty.
Achol did not know any English when her family moved to the United States and she started high school in Baltimore. She was bullied horribly in school to the point where she cried all the time, however she persevered and went on to excel academically and in track. Achol moved to the top of her class and earned a scholarship to Stevenson where she now also runs track.
The girls had many questions about Achol's culture and traditions in Ethiopia, her interests and how she overcame the many obstacles in her life. Her visit provided the students a wealth of life lessons, including anti-bullying messages, perseverance, grit, determination and helped to give them a real-life lesson into their continuing study of refugees.