As a little girl in Syria, Sedra Aghawani dreamed of attending medical school in Damascus on her way to becoming a doctor.
However, the turmoil that has stricken her home country for more than a decade led her family to flee, first to Egypt and then to the Tri-Cities in 2016. She still remembers her first day attending Hanford High as a freshmen.
“I was so confused, I got lost three times in my first day,” she says.
While she could read and write English, she struggled with speaking it, which brought on intense anxiety. But through supportive teachers who helped her improve her fluency, introduced her to other students and encouraged her, she found a supportive community at Hanford High.
She played soccer for the school’s junior varsity girls team, joined Model U.N. and the International Club. Sedra’s increasing fluency in English gave her the confidence to enroll in AP English, Literature and Government & Politics courses for her senior year.
And as for that dream she had when she was a little girl? She’s currently set to attend Washington State University (WSU) Tri-Cities to study biology or human science with an eye to enroll in medical school and become a pediatrician.
“You can’t control everything that happens, but you can still reach your goals,” Sedra says. “Even when it feels hard to get through something, the people around you will help. Keep going.”