Hickman’s diversity has been present for years. The rows upon rows of flags above the commons are a testament to this. It isn’t often, however, that these flags and the rich history behind them are explored. The unique cultures and individual journeys of international students offers a different outlook on life. Gratitude of the ability to learn new cultures throughout Hickman’s halls is deserve and deserves immense appreciation.
Senior Adam Faleh works with Miss Beeson’s ELL class as an A+ tutor. His life at Hickman has been pretty constant as he works to maintain a healthy routine, learn as much as he can, and prepare plans for his future. Faleh comes from a background much different than other Kewpies, and was willing to share a look into what life was like then, and the people who have helped him overcome that.
“I come from Iraq, where it was a bunch of war,” Faleh said. “I had a brother killed there, so we could not live in Iraq any more.”
The Faleh family could not live in danger anymore, and left as soon as the opportunity arose.
“My parents, siblings and I came to America,” Faleh said. “I have six siblings, and one died.”
Upon arriving in America, Faleh realized his goal in life and the possibility of him being able to accomplish it. Faleh has undergone lots of change.
“It was way different,” Faleh said. “In my country, we have no girls. When I came here, I saw boys kissing girls. I was like WOW. It is kind of embarrassing. I don’t know, it was just something weird.”
Girls in Iraq are denied their right to education. Faleh noticed the difference in how American women are treated by simply being allowed into the school system. The toughest shift he has had to overcome was learning to communicate.
“It’s been hard to learn English,” Faleh said. “So I study and work hard every day so I can learn.”
For the past three years, Faleh has found comfort in a resource class in Miss Beeson’s ELL. While there, he worked on improving his English, and is currently working alongside students who are going through the same curriculum.
“The best part of Hickman is having nice teachers,” Faleh said. “ELL class and Miss Beeson have helped me learn English. She is really nice. She is a good teacher by being patient and gives the time we need for a test, and if we need more she gives us extra time.”
Hickman has helped Faleh find his strengths and weaknesses in school.
“I like History,” Faleh said. “I hate science. I like history because it has nothing to do with science. I almost failed it last year. I really don’t like math, it is my worst subject. I have a math test tomorrow, I need to see a tutor!’
Despite being overwhelmed by math and science, Faleh’s spirit is not dampened when talking about where he’ll be in a year from now.
“I’m excited for graduation,” Faleh said. “Since I have been in pilot classes, I have been talking to our friends in Texas about maybe moving down there to keep taking classes, I haven’t decided yet.”
Another way that Faleh is planning for his future is by taking advantage of various local academic offerings.
“I am getting A+ hours from [ELL resource] for MACC for two years and then I will transfer to Mizzou,” Faleh said. “I have everything ready.”
Until graduation comes, Faleh supports his siblings by receiving a gift from his grandma overseas.
“I drive us [Faleh and siblings] to school,” Faleh said. “My grandma bought me a car. She lives in the Middle East. When I started my senior year, she said she was buying me a car. It’s good. I don’t have to pay for anything but insurance and gas.”
His family supports him academically, including his parents who have structured roles at home.
“My dad works all the time, my mom just cooks for me,” Faleh said. “When I get home, I just eat, take a quick nap, and go to the gym. My favorite thing to eat is chicken breast.”
Not only do his parents have structured roles in what they do for him, he maintains a structured routine for himself.
“When I get home, I do homework between four and six,” Faleh said. “I eat at seven. I work out until 9 or 9:30. I workout everyday. I work for four days a week.”
Faleh works as a mechanic, taking after his father.
“I used to work on Mizzou campus but I moved to Walmart mechanic,” Faleh said. “I fix cars. All my friends moved to Walmart so I left my job at Mizzou. It is boring to work with people you don’t know. My friends work as cashiers.”
Following in his friend’s footsteps as a Walmart employee, Faleh hopes to do the same for college.
“Most of my friends are Arab,” Faleh said. “Some of them are from Saudi Arabia, some from Emirates, some from Iraq. I dont really hang out with a lot of girls. My parents say that girls are troublemakers for me. They would be like just hang out with your friends. My parents don’t trust me.”
Instead of being around girls, Faleh enjoys spending time with his friends who do not attend Hickman.
“My friends have all gone to college,” Faleh said. “I am the youngest one but we still hang out.”
The hope and excitement surrounding college and the future for Faleh is very evident. Faleh’s story is an strong example of persistence in learning English, appreciation of the kindness from teachers at Hickman, heart for tutoring other ELL students, is admirable, and deserves to be recognized.