Thursday, June 9th, 2016
Note: This interview was conducted earlier this spring. This week, Aaro completed his final graduation project, sewing blankets for New Beginnings homeless shelter. On Friday, June 3, Aaro will graduate from our Opportunity Farm campus. Aaro is one of 34 Wayfinder students who will graduate this year. A complete graduation schedule is included at the end of this interview.
WS: What brought you to Wayfinder Schools?
AB: At public high school I was not taking taking the classes I was supposed to take. I was taking classes I had already taken in Angola and it was taking so long to transfer the credits. I was desperate. So that’s when I found this opportunity. My friend Fiston went here and he and Mary Seaman told me about this opportunity and I thought is sounded like a good opportunity.
WS: What have you enjoyed most about your Wayfinder Schools experience so far?
AB: Learning new things every day. Learning new things, classes, Experiential Learning Expeditions. It’s a great experience, especially for me coming from a different country. This is helping me get to know more about American culture.
WS: What’s the most interesting thing you’ve learned so far this year?
AB: Living with people of my age. It’s been a great experience.
WS: What’s your favorite class and why?
AB: Sex Education Class with Dana, because we get to talk about everything we want. She makes us feel comfortable talking about stuff we might not feel comfortable talking to our parents about. Being teenagers, it’s the age when you can make a lot of mistakes. Being in that class is helping us, it’s a blessing.
WS: What’s your favorite meal you’ve cooked so far at school and why?
AB: Chicken salad. It’s something that’s not from my country, it was American food. It was a great experience because I was learning how to make American food and trying something new at the same time–amazing.
WS: What’s been your favorite volunteer project and why?
AB: Tree Street. Because we get to help these kids–it’s a great opportunity to help kids in need. Teaching them how to draw and how to make Valentine’s cards or presents, stuff like that.
WS: What’s been your favorite Experiential Learning Expedition and why?
AB: Get Air in Portland. I learned it was my first time being in a place like this, I enjoyed it a lot. I had a blast. At first when we got there I thought it was for little kids, but I got into it. I lost myself, playing. Playing Dodgeball like Superman, flying through the air. It was amazing.
WS: Tell me about your Career Explorations site:
AB: I work at The Village Store. I like that place. My first job was at Burger King. At Burger King the kitchen was too hot and when I went to The Village Store and saw the kitchen I thought it would be like Burger King. But thank God Oren gave me advice. He said, “Give it a try, you never know.” I gave it a try. It was the best decision of my life. I get to meet people, talk to people, help my communications skills. It’s just a great place. I like it.
WS: What do you hope to get out of your Wayfinder Schools experience?
AB: I want to be able to tell people that I actually did it. I want to be able to tell people that I fought so hard for my high school diploma that I had to leave my house and go live at the top of the hill just to get my high school diploma. I had to live with people who don’t speak my language just to get my high school diploma. It’s great proof I can go out in life and pursue my career, pursue my dreams. It’s not easy. I want to tell people it boosts my courage. This is one example of being brave. I want to be an example of how to be brave.
WS: What are your hopes and plans for after graduation?
AB: I want to go to college and pursue a career in Engineering Technology. I want to get my Bachelor’s first, and then get my Master’s. Right now I don’t have any financial aid, so I’ll start at SMCC, get a job and go to school part-time and work part-time. After that I’ll transfer to UMaine Orono, get my Bachelor’s and start working and get experience and go back to school for my Master’s.
WS: What would you like people to know about Wayfinder Schools?
AB: It’s a great place, it’s an amazing opportunity, it’s not an easy place, and every single person that passes through this place experiences some sort of transformation in their lives.
WS: What would you like the world to know about you?
AB: I want the world to know that I’m African guy who came out of nowhere, but with a goal to go somewhere.
Fourteen facts about you:
Where you were born: Angola, Rwanda
Your favorite food: Rice and beans
Your favorite sound or smell: The smell of lemon
Favorite spot in Maine: Portland
Your favorite hobby or thing to do in your spare time: Playing keyboards
Your favorite possession: My shoes, I have my favorite shoes, Air Jordans, that I love so much
Favorite book you’ve read recently: Of Beetles and Angels, it’s about a Sudanese family, about a kid who came from Sudan, immigrated here to the US and his life was not easy and he made it to Harvard
One place you’d like to travel to: Israel
Favorite memory: Playing in a soccer tournament for the first time
Something new you’d like to try: Working full-time
Your favorite music: Rap and Classical, but mostly Rap
Favorite movie? Cyborg with Van Damme
Favorite holiday? Christmas
The one thing you’re most passionate about: Family