A new scholarship initiative means 10 local students from refugee and immigrant backgrounds will get help as they prepare for distance learning in the fall.
Albert Mbanfu, executive director of the International Center of Kentucky in Bowling Green, said the refugee resettlement agency wanted to offer students assistance with purchasing new devices or internet connections in order to continue learning online this coming school year. On Thursday, he presented $500 checks to the students.
“It’s a way of encouraging you to concentrate on education, because that’s the only way you can excel in this country,” Mbanfu explained to the group of students, who were seated outside the International Center for a brief award ceremony.
Working with Skip Cleavinger, the now-retired director of English learner programs for Warren County Public Schools, the International Center reached out to both local public school systems for help developing the awards’ criteria.
That effort resulted in a list of 10 students who could best benefit from the scholarships, many of whom study at Greenwood High School or GEO International High School.
Among the group was Salina Tamang, a student at Greenwood.
As an English learner student, the language barrier was the biggest hurdle she faced while learning remotely in the spring.
She opted into paper assignments and fired off emails to her teachers to ask for help or jumped online for a Google Hangout whenever they needed to meet as a class, she said.
Going forward, Tamang said she wants to use the money for school supplies for her classes at Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College.
The other award recipients are Sui Tha, Sarina Tamang, Sarita Gole, Anna Vung, Tha Thang, Simon Thang, Vung “Lucy” Cing, Vung “Mary” Man and Hser Rey “Cherry” Thin.