TSU Graduate Beats The Odds, Wants To Help Students - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

TSU Graduate Beats The Odds, Wants To Help Students

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by Aundrea Cline-Thomas

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - It's the time of the year when college seniors become nostalgic.

"I'll miss everything, everybody here," Ghariba Babiry said.

For Ghariba Babiry, it's no different. Except her memories are not just about the last four years at Tennessee State University, but the last fifteen when she first arrived in Nashville from Kurdistan in northern Iraq.

"Kurdistan wasn't safe when we came," Babiry explained. "And my dad he wanted to bring us here so we could have a better life."

At 14 years old, Babiry couldn't speak a word of English.

"Because of the wars and everything that was happening, school wasn't a priority. People were trying to survive."

It wasn't until she came to Nashville that she attended school for the first time in her entire life.

"It was difficult, people were making fun of me. Especially during 9/11 it was hell."

Fast forward more than a decade. Babiry is now a college graduate after receiving her Bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education.

"I'm more excited for my parents. Because now they finally get to see me graduate," she said as her eyes welled up in tears. "This is something they waited for so long."

Babiry has gone from a teenager in a new country struggling to learn, just hoping to fit in, to a well adjusted college graduate.

"I saw a student who was motivated, who was not confident about her language skills," Dr. Heraldo Richards, Interim Dean for the College of Education said about Babiry's growth.

"I can't believe this is really happening. With a lot of hard work and determination I did it."

Ghariba knows first hand what's possible when you just don't give up.

Ghariba is currently a substitute teacher with Metro Schools. She's getting certified to teach students who don't speak English as their first language.

Email: acline-thomas@newschannel5.com
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