A decade ago, 7-year-old Ezechiel discovered the English language and the American dream. He arrived with his family from Togo, Africa. Ezechiel’s parents were his best and first role models demonstrating hard work and instilling the value of a great education. They created a home environment that fostered a love of learning and taught him to never give up.
Ezechiel just graduated from high school. He thanks God first; and his teachers who taught him English; tutors who mentored him in math, physics and chemistry; and Interfaith staff like Martha Grave, who believed in him from the very beginning. He also gives thanks to community members like Brad Sleeper who guided and assisted him throughout his entire college search journey and teacher Sue Strom who supported him and his family.
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As a child, he attended the Interfaith Outreach Neighborhood Program, where he built strong connections with caring adults. Ezechiel recalls, “I remember working with homework tutors and going on field trips which were fun, but were also supplemented with educational learning experiences which I wasn’t too fond of. Now I understand why it was important to have the children intellectually challenged while they were having fun on the field trip.”
As he got older, Martha saw Ezechiel’s leadership potential and encouraged him to volunteer. “He took great pride in his academic accomplishments and always seemed so confident that college was in his future. Ezechiel was a positive role model.” He became a volunteer counselor with the Neighborhood Program’s summer day camp for 2nd and 3rd graders, giving back to the program that meant so much to him as a youngster. He logged so many hours that he earned the President’s Volunteer Service Award.
Ezechiel’s future is bright as he plans to attend Minnesota State University, Mankato to pursue a degree in Information Systems.