Boston Public Schools Honor 2016 HS Valedictorians; 12 Are Immigrants Who Achieved The 'American Dream'

Boston Public Schools honored its 2016 valedictorians with a luncheon among city officials Tuesday. School superintendent Tommy Chang, the parents and teachers of the kids, along with Mayor Martin J. Wash, celebrated the success of 37 high school valedictorians. Twelve of them were originally from other countries like Haiti, Bangladesh and Vietnam.

The Boston Globe reports that the mayor commended the students in a speech and took note of how much their "different backgrounds, cultures, and stories" have enriched their schools. The mayor also underscored how the American dream is still coming true for many immigrants. Throughout history, Boston has been considered as a gateway for many foreigners trying to start a new life in America, per the Boston government's site.

Among the foreign-born high school valedictorians, some are actually refugees who have weathered through hardships and adversities. Bilal Lafta of the Boston Community Leadership Academy had to leave his home country of Iraq due to the rising insurgent incidents. He experienced his former school being bombed and saw how American troops helped their community evacuate. To this day, he doesn't know if his hometown has recovered from the war, per WCVB.

Lafta lived in a refugee camp before arriving in the United States and there were no schools in the area. But there was a library, where he spent most of his days, before their family got settled in Boston. He is planning to enroll at Brown University for college.

Meanwhile, the valedictorians born and raised in Boston also appreciate the diversity of this year's batch of excellent graduates. Albert William Saunders IV from East Boston High said that they learn a lot more from talking to students from different cultures in his school. He believes that this diversity contributed to the person that he is today. 

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