Sisters from Ethiopia to graduate Mountain Crest Highschool after only 3 years in U.S.

30. May, 2013UncategorizedNo comments

Graduating high school is a milestone celebrated by all who achieve it. But for Dibabe and Chaltu Newman, the accomplishment is extra sweet, since graduating on time was an especially difficult prospect.

Dibabe, who at school goes by her American middle name, Hope, and Chaltu were adopted by Cherish and Kelly Newman along with five other children from an orphanage in Ethiopia three and a half years ago. Dibabe, then 16, and Chaltu, then 15, both entered the ninth grade at Westlake High School in Utah County.

Neither girl knew English, and Chaltu had only completed formal education through the third grade. Because of that, Cherish said, the family planned to use the fifth-year “super senior” option at Westlake if necessary. When the family moved to Wellsville, however, and the girls transferred to Mountain Crest, that option was no longer available.

“We just decided it was do or die,” Cherish said.

In order to graduate on time, the sisters had to take English as a Second Language classes and complete packets of extra coursework during the summers and school years. Chaltu had to fill her elective credits with math classes to catch up. Being the oldest of 11 children, Dibabe and Chaltu also had many responsibilities at home, such as helping with childcare, housework and cooking.

Moving to the United States was difficult, the girls said, not only because of the language barrier, but because of cultural differences. Food, dress, hairstyles, weather and culture was different — even the general knowledge base was different.

“I had never heard of the Holocaust,” Chaltu said.

The girls also weren’t familiar with common American historical figures like George Washington and celebrated Sept. 11 as Ethiopian New Year’s.

All these changes meant that graduating on time was a significant achievement. Cherish attributes the girls’ success to the ESL program at Mountain Crest.

“Without those helps it would have been too overwhelming,” she said. “They probably couldn’t have made it.”

Emmie Staker, the head of the ESL department at Mountain Crest, said both girls are extremely hard working and self motivated.

“Over the last year, they’ve really come out of their shells,” she said.

Staker also described the girls as courageous, since they often needed to step up and ask for clarification when their vocabulary was too limited to understand homework and exam questions.

The Newman sisters both got involved in Key Club as seniors and were able to reach out to help others. Their grades were always high, their teachers say — a feat difficult for ESL students. Their enthusiasm for life was contagious, said biology teacher Rebecca O’Neill.

“They would come in smiling and ready to work every day,” she said.

Dibabe and Chaltu will both attend Utah State University in the fall and hope to use their educations to return to Ethiopia and do humanitarian work in the future.

 

By Rachel Kenley Fry

Borrowed from: http://m.news.hjnews.com/allaccess/article_9836138c-c821-11e2-86f6-001a4bcf887a.html#.UabgFxRBh3Y.facebook

Olsson Family Fund – In Memory of Marra Frehiwot

22. May, 2013UncategorizedNo comments

Photo: I have to write this. It's not something I can choose not to do. It has to be written.<br />I am compelled to tell you about an amazing little girl. This little girl- this incredible, phenomenal spitfire of a girl was perfect. She was beauty. She was joy. She was sunshine.<br />She is Marra. Marra Frehiwot (or Marra Freh) as we all lovingly called her.<br />There really are no words...no witty quips or pretty adjectives that can ever come close to conveying all that which is and always will be Marra. But her mommy asked me to try. Her mommy, who in the midst of her soul shattering grief wants simply for us to celebrate her daughter asked me to help all of you "see" Marra as we all did. And so.... I have to write.<br />To know Marra was to know pure,blissful,joyous love. She was so tiny and yet had the presence of a<br />Giant. When Marra walked (ran was more like it) into the room-you knew it. Her laughter was the kind that comes from the soul- the kind that comes from those who know they are completely and unconditionally loved. And she was. And is. And forever will be. You couldn't help but love her. There's just something about that little girl.... Something about Marra.<br />Perhaps it was her smile. To be smiled at by Marra was like standing in the most brilliant sunrise you've ever seen. You could (and did) drown in those smiles. And if , by chance you didn't-well there would be no saving you from those giant round eyes of hers.<br />There really is just something about that little girl. Something about our Marra. The little girl with the enormous personality. The precious little girl who we have to say good bye to. The little girl who was called home by Our Heavenly Father just days ago. The beautiful little girl that touched and forever affected so many lives-including my own.<br />I have been so blessed to have been included in Marra's life by her incredible parents. And they are incredible. How could they not be? God wouldn't have chosen parents for Marra unless they were amazing people. Strong in their faith. Strong in their love for each other. And strong in their complete and total love and devotion to their children. Amy Olsson and Sten J. Olsson are all of those things and more. They are the kind of parents I have always wanted and hoped to be.<br />I wish it were possible for me to express through words the pain I feel for this incredible family. Pain at the loss of their precious Marra Freh. Pain for the road they will now travel. Pain for the journey of grief they will now have to endure. And pain-excruciating pain at the hurtful and judge mental things inconsiderate people have said.<br />Amy asked me to address that issue. And I said I would. But I'm changing my mind. I won't tarnish or dim the light that is Marra by wasting time on insignificant and ugly babble. Marra wouldn't want it. Instead I will pray. I will pray for those who choose to judge without knowing that Sten adored his daughter as he does each of his children. I will pray for their lack of compassion toward a grieving father who has been shattered by the death of his baby. I will beg that Our Father will shield them from ever being touched by the loss of their own child because then-and only then could they ever begin to fathom what Marra's daddy is feeling. And I will ask you all to pray it with me.<br />Now-I have a favor to ask. It isn't my favor. It's the favor asked of me by my dear friend,Amy.....my sister in Christ and fellow broken momma. Won't you help me share Marra? Please share this on your wall, in your groups, in conversation. Tell everyone you know. Tell them that there was a phenomenal little girl who came clear across the world with parents who moved mountains just for the chance to love her. Tell them about her giggles , how she loved her family, adored her doggy, was learning all about and loving God and teaching us all what joy looks like. Tell them there's just something about Marra.<br />And ask them to tell her story.

West Sands Adoptions has opened a fund for the Olsson family, who tragically lost their daughter a few days ago. All donations will be applied to their adoption account, and distributed to the family to help cover any additional costs they may have at this time. If you would like to donate to this family you can mail your payment to our office, or pay via the following link. Please memo Olsson Family Fund:
http://westsandsadoption.org/donate/
I have to write this. It’s not something I can choose not to do. It has to be written.
I am compelled to tell you about an amazing little girl. This little girl- this incredible, phenomenal spitfire of a girl was perfect. She was beauty. She was joy. She was sunshine.
She is Marra. Marra Frehiwot (or Marra Freh) as we all lovingly called her.
There really are no words…no witty quips or pretty adjectives that can ever come close to conveying all that which is and always will be Marra. But her mommy asked me to try. Her mommy, who in the midst of her soul shattering grief wants simply for us to celebrate her daughter asked me to help all of you “see” Marra as we all did. And so…. I have to write.
To know Marra was to know pure,blissful,joyous love. She was so tiny and yet had the presence of a
Giant. When Marra walked (ran was more like it) into the room-you knew it. Her laughter was the kind that comes from the soul- the kind that comes from those who know they are completely and unconditionally loved. And she was. And is. And forever will be. You couldn’t help but love her. There’s just something about that little girl…. Something about Marra.
Perhaps it was her smile. To be smiled at by Marra was like standing in the most brilliant sunrise you’ve ever seen. You could (and did) drown in those smiles. And if , by chance you didn’t-well there would be no saving you from those giant round eyes of hers.
There really is just something about that little girl. Something about our Marra. The little girl with the enormous personality. The precious little girl who we have to say good bye to. The little girl who was called home by Our Heavenly Father just days ago. The beautiful little girl that touched and forever affected so many lives-including my own.
I have been so blessed to have been included in Marra’s life by her incredible parents. And they are incredible. How could they not be? God wouldn’t have chosen parents for Marra unless they were amazing people. Strong in their faith. Strong in their love for each other. And strong in their complete and total love and devotion to their children. Amy Olsson and Sten J. Olsson are all of those things and more. They are the kind of parents I have always wanted and hoped to be.
I wish it were possible for me to express through words the pain I feel for this incredible family. Pain at the loss of their precious Marra Freh. Pain for the road they will now travel. Pain for the journey of grief they will now have to endure. And pain-excruciating pain at the hurtful and judge mental things inconsiderate people have said.
Amy asked me to address that issue. And I said I would. But I’m changing my mind. I won’t tarnish or dim the light that is Marra by wasting time on insignificant and ugly babble. Marra wouldn’t want it. Instead I will pray. I will pray for those who choose to judge without knowing that Sten adored his daughter as he does each of his children. I will pray for their lack of compassion toward a grieving father who has been shattered by the death of his baby. I will beg that Our Father will shield them from ever being touched by the loss of their own child because then-and only then could they ever begin to fathom what Marra’s daddy is feeling. And I will ask you all to pray it with me.
Now-I have a favor to ask. It isn’t my favor. It’s the favor asked of me by my dear friend,Amy…..my sister in Christ and fellow broken momma. Won’t you help me share Marra? Please share this on your wall, in your groups, in conversation. Tell everyone you know. Tell them that there was a phenomenal little girl who came clear across the world with parents who moved mountains just for the chance to love her. Tell them about her giggles , how she loved her family, adored her doggy, was learning all about and loving God and teaching us all what joy looks like. Tell them there’s just something about Marra.
And ask them to tell her story.