YES Programs



October 2013 Student of the Month

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Congratulations to Emmanuel Gaima from Sierra Leone, the October YES Student of the Month! A common theme runs through all descriptions of Emmanuel – whether as a scholar, an athlete or a youth ambassador, he puts 100% into his endeavors. His teachers and cross-country coach at Cascade High School praise his hard work and preparation. His business and law teacher calls him “an excellent student,” noting that “he asks great questions, studies diligently, receives excellent grades and contributes to class discussions.” 

Emmanuel’s U.S. history teacher comments on his outstanding performance in class. “He has spent a lot of time studying and preparing for tests and as a result has scored near the highest in class each time. He consistently is active in class discussions and also listens to fellow students…. [Emmanuel’s] presentation to the class on Progressivism…was one of the most thorough presentations I have seen from a high school student.”

As an athlete, Emmanuel not only puts great effort into training and races, but also supports the team and cheers on his teammates. He has already done many hours of community service, with a goal of completing 100 hours. He is open-minded and willing to try new foods and new experiences. He has shared his own beliefs and culture in presentations at school and in conversations with his host family, friends and local coordinator; he is now preparing community presentations for International Education Week.  He also makes time for school dances, fun runs, youth group, and host family adventures. He is both serious and fun, and shares the best of the cultural exchange experience with his community. Emmanuel is a top student, a persistent athlete, a pleasant and helpful member of his host family, and a good ambassador for his country and for the YES program. It’s not always easy to go the extra mile, but Emmanuel is a model for all of us.

Honorable Mention: Ajit Singh

Since coming to the United States Ajit has enthusiastically sampled new sports and activities, excelled in school as well as extracurricular activities and made many new friends. As an outstanding YES ambassador, he has done 30 hours of community service and given presentations about his home country of India. Ajit, who is blind, attended the orientation given by Mobility International, USA in Eugene, OR, in August, where he thoroughly enjoyed a ropes course in the woods, gardening, and riding a tandem bike. After he arrived in his host state of Indiana his host family took him kayaking, canoeing, apple-picking, rock-climbing, horse riding, and on many other adventures. Ajit writes that these experiences opened “a new world” to him. As a student at the Indiana School for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ISBVI), Ajit has participated in the Chess Club and shot put, and was even elected vice president of the Student Council. In addition, he has earned an A+ in all his exams so far. He has enjoyed giving presentations on India in which he has discussed topics such as religion, languages, festivals, spicy food, sports, history and the federal system. Through the challenges he has met in the United States, Ajit writes, he “discovered a new independence and strength” within himself. Congratulations, Ajit!