A former African refugee named Julianne Lukambo has graduated as the best graduating student of Northland High School in Columbus, Ohio, United States of America.
She was awarded an outstanding sum of $240,000 in scholarships to study at any university in the United States.
Julianne Lukambo was a Congolese refugee in Uganda. She and her parents had to move to Uganda as refugees due to the democratic republic of Congo war where they settled for over a decade before they later moved to the US in 2015.
“Due to the ongoing war, we had to move to Uganda as refugees, so that’s where I spent most of my childhood,” Julianne recalled. Life in the refugee camp was not easy,” she narrated.
Julianne credits her success to hard work and embraces the scholarship award as the result of her hard work.
“I’ve worked really hard all of these years with taking college classes, being involved, and getting the scholarships is showing recognition that I did a lot, and the reward is what I get,” she said.
She described her moving into the United States and adapting to the environment as a new student in her high school was a difficult challenge but she got motivated to push through by participating in various sports, at the same time performed excellently in her academics and got impressive internships.
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Speaking on her experience, Julianne said: “The culture here was very different, it was hard in the beginning just getting used to the language and the students, you are just thrown out there, and you have to learn to adjust to that all by yourself.”
Commenting on the scholarship awards she won, Julianne said she was shocked by the scholarship amount as she never expected it to be that much but, she was sure she did well in maintaining high grades all through her time in high school and it helped her a lot.
“I was kind of surprised because I wasn’t like keeping count of the amount, but I think first of all I did keep my grades up throughout my entire time in high school. That’s something that helped me a lot,” she said.
She also attributed the success to her faculty and teachers who recommended her because for several scholarships.
”And also, I would say getting involved, networking, and branching out. It really helps you a lot with getting recommendations and having the teachers recommend you for different scholarships,” she explained.
She further said she wouldn’t be who she is without the story of her rough part and how she was able to overcome it. She remains grateful for the opportunity and has a high expectation of what lies ahead.
“Overcoming the adversity that I have had to overcome to reach where I am today has been a real challenging journey, and I would say that from coming from where I’m from, to here now, I would’ve never expected it, so overcoming all of that is something I’m really grateful for and proud of,” Julianne said.