This month, beginning with National Charter Schools Week, we will feature stories from charter school graduates from across the country. Check back every day to see a new student feature in our 30 Days of Grad series.
My name is Awa Traore, and I am from Mali. I have been a student at Briya Public Charter School in Washington, D.C. for more than four years. Briya is a program for parents and children where adults learn English, computer skills and parenting while their children learn in early childhood classes. At Briya, I have improved my English, earned my high school diploma, and learned how to be a better parent.
Briya has helped me speak English well and confidently. Before, I was always nervous to speak English anywhere I went outside the school. I wouldn’t even ask questions to my doctor or my children’s doctors because I thought they wouldn’t understand. But now that anxiety is replaced with confidence. For instance, when I interviewed for the job I now have, working as a cashier at a restaurant, my English was so clear that I got hired after just a few questions.
Briya has also helped me take next steps in my education and career. I earned my high school diploma in June 2016 through Briya’s National External Diploma Program. Before that, most of the careers I was interested in, like being a receptionist or customer service representative, required a high school diploma. With a high school diploma, I can now take classes I didn’t have access to previously.
Additionally, studying at Briya has made me be a better parent. At Briya we don’t only learn English but also parenting, including how to help, connect with, communicate with, show love to and share with our children. That’s something I will cherish for the rest of my life because in my culture we don’t spend much quality time with our children. We let them learn lots of things on their own. Before Briya, as a mom I didn’t know how important it is to read to and listen to a child. Now I can see the impact on my children. I have a great connection with them. I know games they like to play, toys they like, and their favorite colors, and I am able to calm them down when they are mad or nervous. Every time my son gets angry, I ask him to take a deep breath and let it go. This is something I learned at Briya, and it’s really working for him and for me. Thanks to Briya, I can say I’m a better parent because we are practicing things that are really working for us.
Briya is a place I call a second home. With our outstanding and caring staff willing to help with the students’ needs inside and outside the school, an education at Briya is really priceless.