Graduation from St. Augustine College

Paul Majur Deng, Marko Wel Aleu, Jacob Deng Ding and Ayuel Awuol
graduated from St. Augustine College on May 28, 2005.
They are the second group of Lost Boys of Sudan in Chicago to graduate.
All plan to continue their educations.
They are truly inspiring and admirable role models.

scroll down to read more about the graduates
photos by Ted Jindrich

Ayuel Awuol
Ayuel graduated Cum Laude with a major in accounting. He plans to go to Northeastern
Illinois University
. (read Ayuel's story below)

Jacob Deng Ding
Jacob is majoring in Business Management. He will continue his education. (read Jacob's story below)

Marko Wel Aleu
Marko's major is in Business Administration. He plans to continue his education but is undecided where at this point. (read Marko's story below)

Paul Majur Deng
Paul's major is in Accounting. He will continue his education at Northeastern Illinois University

Marko Wel Aleu

It been has tough years since I enrolled in St Augustine College. I had the worst time in the interval between the hospital and school. Anyway, I'm glad the surgery is almost over. I spent fourteen days in the hospital during the school year. Once I got out of the hospital, I had to make up my missed schoolwork, and it was like running from enemy again. After having seven surgeries, I have made it, but it is unbelievable, I'm triumphant. . I still made it. I never had a happier day than this graduation in my life. I could not imagine my vision would be bright like this. I remember back in Africa when I was so gloomy as to what to do in the future. But now, things are turning around. Getting a two year degree is courageous, and it is a bright light toward my future. Sticking to the education means sacrifices, yet education is a straight direction towards which I never change my mind. When sometimes I a flashback, long separation from family, it causes millions of thoughts and gives me some sort of fraction in decision-making. But, nothing could be better than taking education to sweep all anxieties and grievances beyond the bottom line. I must continue in education to forward to a brighter future and better tomorrow. I will never give up. My goal is to get an education, despite the difficulties I have been through. I'm a self-interested person and my own hero. I love what I do and strongly believe what I decided. I could not do it if I was not decent person. At this point, I'm eager to continue in a four year college. Even though I had the worst time, my fortitude will lead me to a better future. Deep thanks to people who make education affordable for us.

Ayuel Awuol

The long run for struggling has come to an end. I have been struggling a lot to achieve my education at my youngest age, but due to many crises and lack of development from southern Sudan and the injustice of the northern government of Sudan, did not allow me to pursue my education and the rest of brothers and sisters.

I’m so glad that I came to a place full with lots of opportunities where I received the Degree I had been struggling for so many years, and the Civil War did not allow me to complete it. This is just the beginning of my career. When I look back and sees many obstacles that had complicated my life, I can only be thankful to Almighty God who make all things possible even the impossible ones. I’m now pursuing my study at Northeastern Illinois University for a Bachelor Degree.

This is a message to you my fellow brothers, (Lost Boys) and the community in general. Your Habit Will Determine Your Future. The Focus of your Power and Commitment shows you how to define your path and start working your plan. It’s an amazing compendium and inspiring as well as practical. You must have a Goal, which is the Ongoing Pursuit of a Worthy Objective Until Accomplished. Use your natural talents to invest most of your time every week doing what you do best, and let others do what they are best in doing it. When you focus most of your time and energy doing the things you are truly brilliant at, you eventually reap big rewards. This is a Fundamental truth and it’s critical to your future Success. Success isn’t magic, it’s simply learning how to focus.

Let us not be here just to make A LIVING, let us be here to make A DIFFERENCE. Always strive for constant and never-ending improvement in everything you do. Create a dream team of like-minded colleagues who will help you make your hopes come true. Serve greatly with love and a happy heart, and don’t forget to tithe a percentage of your income to your church and favorite charities.

I just want to say thank you to all volunteers and CALBOS members for your hard work in supporting us for our education expenses besides Financial Aids Assistance. I gave special thank for mama Shiela Gould for not giving up in helping to recruit the new student, keep up doing the great job. I had nothing to give for you as a reward, but the Almighty God will bless you for doing Christ’s Will and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

I had special thank for two families that had done a tremendous job and made my life so easy without experiencing the culture shock of a different culture. Mr. Bob Montgomery family and Mr. Rusty Brashear family had not only helped me alone, but my entire families back home in Africa too. Thank God for blessing me with these families. They had helped me to achieve the most important thing in life, their tireless generosity have taken two of my brothers and their families to Australia where the kids will have a better future because they will be educated and help the society later. I’m so proud that I’m successful with the help I get from good people as you are. I thank you for you’re caring so much. God bless.

Jacob Deng Ding


(ETHIOPIA: 1988-1991) (KENYA: 1992-2001) (U.S.A: 2002-2005)

The First School I Went To (1988-1991)
Panyido Refugees Camp in Ethiopia
          I remember the time I started going to school in the camp (Ethiopia) 1988 until 1991, the first time I went to school. We sat on the ground outside under the big trees, we called it, "a school or a class…" but there were no buildings (classrooms), no blackboards, no chalks, and no pens or pencils, as well not enough books. We had one or two books that we all shared. The book was called, "Hello Children." That time, we write our notes on the ground and our teachers used to check and correct our work. Each and every child was told to bring a big stone as a chair for sitting (no chairs). In Ethiopia, we were the first refugees' school children and our population was approximately 24,000 children, age seven to eleven. We were grouped like soldiers, divided into 12 groups and 12 schools. Each group or school consisted of more than thousands of children. That time, our name (Title) wasn't called, "Lost Boys…" We were called "Minor Groups…" a minor, which mean someone who is below age. In school, our classes were overpopulated; sometimes a class of 90 to 100 children with only one teacher and our teachers were also refugees. We started learning the English alphabet (letters) from A to Z, and ordinal numbers such as 1, 2, 3 to 100th. In class, we learnt one letter and one number a day. We were absolutely innocent and primitive. We didn't know even how to keep the dates and times in our minds. First of all, when our teachers started teaching, they asked, "what's the date today?" But the answer to that question wasn't randomly guaranteed to those who raising hands, the answer was a choice made by a teacher. A teacher appointed or chose anyone in class, but if we failed to answered it correctly, then a whole class' hands should be beaten. We were scared to learn by our teachers. Our learning in English was very hard and innovative. No one among us knew English before, we knew only our dialects; our accent was one of the major problems to pronounce some words into idiomatic English. Many of us couldn't pronounce some words such as one (1) correctly. Instead to say one, they said, "Wale." Among those people, I was one of them. That time, as others children, friends and even a teacher made fun of me, by saying, "Wale…Wale…Wale…!" I just thought I am a foul or stupid, but I didn't fail my classes because of that. Till my seventh grade in primary school, I was very addicted to my mother tongue. The most academic things that we used to learn periodically was a pronunciation including the alphabetical order because most of us used to written some letters facing up or down.

That times, the second book (Level II) was called, "Read It With Us" in which a teacher read or reiterating from the book and children followed, repeating what teacher said. I'm still remembering my first teacher's name called, "Anyoldit." He was my English teacher from class one to class two. He was an old man and a friendly teacher. His age was approximately 70. He was about 6 ft, tall. He was a good teacher, a very good teacher. He was a charismatic teacher in both quality and believer, a visionary teacher who taught us about the essence and expected future of our education. He also got a great potential as a singer, he taught us with many songs such as, "Row, Row, Row your boat…" All of us loved him and were enormously proud of him. I think such good persons or teachers are rare to be found nowadays, they are indelible. In Ethiopia, that was the first school I went to (1988-1991).

The Second School I Went To (1992-2001)
Kakuma Refugees Camp in Kenya
           I remember the second time I restarted going to school in Kakuma Refugees Camp in Kenya (1992-2001). In Kakuma Refugees Camp, more than half of the populations were school children; there were 23 primary schools, three high schools and five kindergartens. In 1992, I restarted my classes in primary school, 2nd grade. Successfully, I continued my primary school till eighth grade in 1998, the time when my father got killed in war. In October 1998, the day before I began to set for a final exams to finish primary school, that was the time I heard that my father got killed in war. I received a condolence from my uncle who came from Sudan to visit and told me about the death of my father. Effectively that ominous tragically became a failure in my eighth grade. So I wasn't able to make my exams. While in Kenya school systems if you missed or failed your exams, then you have to repeat the same class for another year. Paradoxically that has happened, I repeated eighth grade and finished primary school in 1999. In a millennium year 2000, I started going to high school until 2001. In those awful years of 1990s in Kakuma Refugees Camp (Kenya), life was obviously compared with…/as keeping detainees in prison.

MY ALBUM! MY STORY! MY LIFE! (1992-2001)

Life in Kakuma refugees camp in Kenya
           In Kenya my life as a student was worse than it was in Ethiopia. In Kenya, starvation was one of a major problem that affected most of my daily life. I was fed to support my life by planting a small square of a garden consisted of leaves-vegetable such as Spanish and cane. Which I used to sold, or cooked those edible leaves to eat as shown in the above picture.

Description of Kakuma refugees camp
           Kakuma Refugees Camp lies in a desert region, south tail of the Sahara desert in northern Kenya. It is a dry land. A land of dry rivers and ochre earth, surrounded by acacia trees and red mountains. There are shopping streets where vendors sold fly-ridden meat, mild narcotic plants, rotten fruits and ragged clothes. Around the camp is a dry and dirty valley full with human stools. A camp where there is no electricity and no public transportation.

Pictured in Kakuma Refugees Camp
The weather over there is always about 100 degrees, and the rain must likely rain maybe two times a year. This "temporary" home to 86,000 refugees, three quarters of them Sudanese, and the rest such as Somalis, Ugandans, Burundians, Ethiopians, Rwandans and more. Kakuma is homesteads consisting of small groups of grass roofed, mad walled houses, set among scattered palms and thorn bushes. Still I remember Kakuma Refugees Camp in Kenya (1992-2001).

The Third School I went to (2001-2002-2005)
           I remember the time I started going to school in Chicago, I began going to school for ESL, two months from the date I arrived in the United States. On July 20, 2001, I completed and received ESL certificate from Refugees Educational Center, provided by World Relief Agency. In the beginning of winter 2001, I joined the GED classes at Truman College. Some months later, I left for my host family at Lake County, Illinois. Over there I went and sat for a placement test at Lake County College and I passed. I did English 108 and introduction to Algebra over there, and then I came back to Chicago. In Fall 2002, I went and sat again for a placement and ATB test at St. Augustine College, and then I passed. That fall I enrolled as a full time student. On May 27, 2005, I finished two years and received a Degree in business and management at St, Augustine College in Chicago. Since I was a child, I enjoyed going to school so much.

Deep pondering as enchanting during graduation day (5/27/05)

MY ALBUM! MY STORY! MY LIFE! (2001-2005)

THE MYTSERY AND GRADUATION I was happy, extremely happy. The day that I graduated in college was like the memory of every single day I had in my daily life. I was deeply thinking. That day reminded me about the past, the present and the future of my life. All the difficulties and suffering that I have been faced in my life, such as the day that I left my own country and how long I missed my parents, also a mysterious such as a promise from my father and the last time I spoke to him (October 17, 1987.) He said, "Go as a boy and return as a man." That was a mysterious, I realized that my father blessed me before he die. He gave me a blessing that I would be successful and one-day return to help my people. Every time I think about my father,

I think his promise is true. And God, as my provision, I believe. I believe in changes between peerless and failure as: Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 said, "There is a time for everything…" So I could paraphrase the Gospel in this way: The poor and the rich all are together in the Kingdom of God. We are all the earth's children, but we are living in different ways: Some enjoy their life and some hate their life, some bless the world, while some are cursing the world. Life is depending on a condition accordingly to where you where born. Life on the earth is comparatively as if someone flipping a coin again and again. This is my life story, I do not write this as a consolation. The memory of the past is indelible and the failure is real, it still hurts today. Still I remember those times (Ethiopia: 1987-1991) (Kenya: 1992- 2001) (U.S.A: 2001-2005) Unfinished.


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