The girls known simply by their first names, Debbie and Grace graduated after completing junior year (11th grade) and senior year (12 grade) at a prestigious private international school in the Washington metro area in America.
A statement by International Director, Education Must Continue Initiative (EMC) , Emmanuel Ogebe said Debbie and Grace were part of the first 57 girls who escaped from Boko Haram terrorists after the mass abduction of almost 300 Chibok schoolgirls in April 2014.
On hand to witness the historic graduation of the two Chibok girls in the class of 2017 were a delegation from Nigeria which included the founders and directors of Education Must Continue Initiative Mr and Mrs Paul Gadzama and the parent of one of the girls who traveled from Chibok .
The only Chibok girl currently pursuing a degree program in an American university, cut short her summer vacation in Nigeria to return for the graduation of her colleagues. The girls’ American host families and Barrister Emmanuel Ogebe and his family were among the audience who witnessed the historic graduation.
The class of 2017 was the 50th graduation of the school which was the first high school in America to win a prestigious President’s award last year. The Chibok girls were among only 21 students who graduated as a few international students were unable to graduate.
In remarks during a celebratory reception, the Chibok girls thanked their host families, the NGO volunteers from EMC for supporting them to achieve their dreams.
The parent visiting from Nigeria stated that he had personally seen that the team had done more for his daughter in America than he could have done for them in Nigeria.
Recounting the story of how he conceived the project , Ogebe described how he first brought the orphan of a pastor murdered by Boko Haram to school in the US in 2013. The following year, Boko Haram attacked her village and abducted 276 girls. Consequently because he had helped an orphan from Chibok before he was able to help these ones as well.
He appreciated the sacrifice of EMC founders Mr and Mrs Gadzama who flew at their own expense to witness the girls’ graduation after missing their own daughter’s graduation with a Master’s in Public Health (MPH) in Michigan just a few weeks earlier.
He also thanked EMC’s American volunteer Education Adviser Deanna who helped obtain admission and scholarships to the exclusive $35,000 per year school for her role after their former school tried to take advantage of them. The girls had to repeat 11th grade after their initial school failed to meet up to its obligations.
A church Thanksgiving is planned for the girls who are exploring their future endeavors following graduation. Among several awards won by them was an award for “Most hard working student in English as Second Language 3”.
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