Super Scholar: Conrad senior soars after family leaves refugee camp

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Khagindra Kadariya’s family came to the United States after living in a refugee camp in Nepal. They had been forced to move from their home country of Bhutan.

Having attended Dallas ISD schools since the fifth grade, he said it was at first hard for him to adjust to American culture and learn how to speak English. Having overcome those obstacles, the Emmett J. Conrad High School senior plans to attend the University of Texas at Arlington to pursue a career in the medical field, with a major in science and minor in business.

Khagindra is one of seven district students to be named 2016 Gates Millennium Scholars, one of the nation’s most prestigious scholarships. The program covers all college-related costs and also cover tuition for select graduate school programs.

Where is your family from originally?

My parents are originally from Bhutan, but after an ethnic cleansing they were forced to moved out of the country they settled in Nepal. According to my dad, he told me that our family had been living in the camp for past 17 years. Living off of rations provided by the government and other organizations. Finally, in 2008 we were able to come to United State of America thank to UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees).

What are you most looking forward to after graduation?

First and foremost, I can’t wait to be independent. In the short break I want to travel before college starts. So the adventure that will come along with my short travel will allow me to see the world to what it is, rather then hearing about it.

What are some of the obstacles you’ve had to overcome in your life?

Aside from the fact being a refugee was close to a nightmare that’s finally over. Adjusting to the American culture and the environment was a big obstacle I had to overcome. Learning English and being able to communicate was difficult for me, epically when I was scared of being judge over how others saw me. Learning English and overcoming my fear of public speaking was a big push toward my overall success. Like any other obstacle, learning English didn’t come easy, from reading books to watching television hoping I would learn English I spent first two years of my life in America learning English. After seeing my improvement, I challenged myself to take advanced-level core classes, eventually leading to taking advancement placement classes in High School.

What are some of your proudest accomplishments?

It’s often said that hard work pays off and to me it truly has. From working countless nights on homework, and spending lot of hours to the community giving back and volunteering has made me more than happy. In addition, graduating within the top 10 percent also with this scholarship is beyond my proudest accomplishment. Also, seeing my parent with a tears of joy in their eyes is just … I can’t contemplate my happiness.

Is there a teacher who has had a big impact on your life?

I have a counselor/mentor rather than a teacher. Ms. Sonya Gilb, since the freshman year of high school, she has been there guiding me to the best I can be. Informing and taking me to the volunteering and allowing me to be a leader as well as believing in me means a lot, and I can never thank her enough for all her hard work.

What’s one thing you have learned from school that you will take with you after graduation?

One thing that I have learned from school that I will take with me after graduation is that, there are tough times and it will weaken us to a point where we almost give up, but if we persevere through it, there is a sunshine and rainbow at the end.

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