Perseverance is a word synonymous with Sam and his family. Sam, his two older sisters, his older brother, and his mother moved to Louisville, Kentucky in 2013. Native to Rwanda, his family finally felt a sense of safety and opportunity. Although Sam was bilingual when he arrived in the United States, neither language was English (he was instead fluent in Chichewa and Kinyarwanda). So he started his American education in an ESL school.

After his first year, he was able to speak enough English to get by in normal classes, so his family decided to enroll him in West End School. The boarding school component was challenging at first, but ultimately made many friends and learned English much more efficiently surrounded 24/7 around people who spoke the language.

One of Sam’s favorite memories was when he walked into his French class, taught by one of the founders Debbie Blair. “When Ms. Blair was walking back to class, I had this smirk on my face with fingers interlocked, up to my chin, as said, “I’ve been expecting you”. I just remember Ms. Blair laughing hysterically. I have never seen her laugh that much. It’s a moment I can never forget.”
Sam graduated from West End School in 2016 and went on to complete his high school education at St. X, where he was offered a full scholarship during his tenure. While he attended St. X, he was involved in the National Honor Society, Outdoor Adventure Club, Robotics Club, and French Club. Sam graduated with a 3.7 GPA.

After he graduated from St. X in 2020, he was accepted to the University of Louisville’s School of Engineering, where he was able to piece together various scholarships to completely cover his education expenses. Sam is a first-generation college student, currently studying Computer Engineering with aspirations to work for Apple.

Sam finally shared he knows his time at West End School made a difference. He understood how to live with others while he was in the dormitory. He mastered how to present himself around others in a professional setting. He learned how to own his actions and be responsible for what he does. But the most important lesson came from his mentor Mr. Charles. Whenever he is struggling in life, a message from him always comes to mind.

“It’s your choice whether ordinary or extraordinary”