Graduation Held to Honor English-Speaking Students
A graduation was held at the Horsed Private School of English, Sept. 10, 2012, in Djibouti City, Djibouti, to honor 17 Djiboutian students who completed the four-year English Language Course.
"Today's ceremony is the well-deserved recognition of years of hard work for these students in completing their English Language Course," said U.S. Navy Lieutenant Colter Menke, English Discussion Group, or EDG, program facilitator for Camp Lemonnier personnel.
The school, which opened its doors in 2002, has greatly evolved over the past 10 years, according to Igueh Elmi Bouh, the school's headmaster.
"We started the program with few students," said Bouh. "[At] the end of 2005 the public diplomacy [officer] at the [U.S.] Embassy, with a team from Camp Lemonnier, came to the school. Their arrival helped change everything. And we soon welcomed a lot of students."
The U.S. Embassy-sponsored course is facilitated five nights per week through a partnership between the EDG, school instructors and the U.S. Embassy.
"This is important [because] it has the effect of bringing people of different languages and cultures together that were once far apart," Menke said. "This could be Djibouti and the United States."
Nearly 15 Camp volunteers visit the school each night, Sundays through Thursdays.
"I'm here for one year and wanted to do some volunteer work. I thought this would be a great time to do it," said U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Michael Yoon, an EDG volunteer. "I just completed my 22nd trip to the school. I've learned so much from the local students and teachers, and am so glad to be doing this."
Each evening volunteers discuss English and field questions from students about American culture.
"I always dreamed [of going] to America to see America; but since Americans have come to our school we already have America here," said Hamda Med Chideh, the ceremony's host.
The ceremony began with a welcome, from Chideh, then a recitation from the Quran, a skit, a poem reading, and speeches from honored guests.
The skit, a comedy on the effects of choices relevant to Djiboutian culture, employed several of the students and their knowledge of English. Neina Farah Adawe, a previous school graduate now fluent in several languages, then recited her poem, "Who Are We?", about the importance of gaining knowledge.
"We are Djiboutians and we have the power [to] teach and study," said Adawe in her poem. "We know tomorrow we will be fathers, mothers, workers and leaders. [We] work together and help each other. Where can we find you knowledge? The answer is clear, our heart must be clean."
The graduates are Mohamed Houssein Elmi, Mohamed Houssein Hoch, Nasteho Nour Houffaneh, Yasmin Houssein Guireh, Moustapha Aden Dirieh, Nadira Abdillahi Houssein, Amir Hasan Djama, Abdourachid Houssein Djama, Abchir Ahmed Aden, Yasmin Said Dirieh, Mahamoud Aden Abdourahman, Fatouma Houssein Aden, Hajira Eleyeh Ali, Zahra Houssein Djama, Eleyeh Osman Abdillahi, Nafissa Houssein Ladieh and Charmarke Aden Haga.
For more information or to volunteer for the English Discussion Group, email firstname.lastname@example.org.