Ugandans in DFW Celebrate Milestones of 5 High School Graduates

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By EADM Correspondent

 

In Summary: Five of their own graduated with High School Diplomas. The celebration of their milestones was well worth it. Three girls and two boys, all under 18, walked the graduation stages to thunderous applause from their parents, siblings, friends, and members of the Ugandan community living in Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) metroplex in Texas. The official graduation ceremonies took place at the Fort Worth and Dallas Convention Centers on Friday May 27. The graduates attended high schools in Tarrant and Dallas counties. The community later gathered at Barbara's Dance Studio in Hurst on Saturday May 28th for a joint graduation dinner and dance thrown by the parents and friends in honor of the milestones reached by the five youngsters. 

Hurst, Texas--Ugandans living in the Dallas  Fort Worth area (DFW) last month celebrated graduations of five of their youngsters; Brittany Gayira, Estella Ntavyo, Ivy Abuga, Shuri Rubamba Mugabi, and Gary Calbert Malule Jr.  The official graduation ceremonies took place at the Fort Worth and Dallas Convention Centers on Friday May 27. The graduates attended high schools in two different Independent School Districts in Tarrant and Dallas counties.

The Ugandan community and their friends later gathered at Barbara's Dance Studio in Hurst on Saturday May 28th for a joint graduation dinner and dance in honor of the milestones reached by the five youngsters. The joint graduation party was hosted by the parents of the high school graduates. 

Collectively, the parents of the graduates, Ms. Justine Musoke, Mr. and Mrs. Ntavyo, Ms. Robinah Kagoro, Dr. Amos Abuga, Mr. and Mrs. Thieri   and Kate Shuri, and Mr. Calbert Malule Snr., were unanimous in their words and deeds: “The respective achievements of our youngsters are worth celebrating.” The parents of Estella and Brittany chose to let the elder siblings of the graduates speak on their behalf while the mothers of Ivy and Shulie spoke on behalf of the parents. 

Aisha Musoke Ogwang said, “We hope to guide these youngsters to achieve their dreams. Speaking on behalf of the parents of Brittany Gayira, Aisha Musoke Ogwang   hailed her younger sister on attaining the milestone of completing high school. She said that Brittany had done the family proud and did not let it down. “You have done us proud and on behalf of my family, my Mom in particular, I congratulate you on reaching this milestone.”  Like her elder sister Aisha Musoke Ogwang, Brittany Gayira plans to pursue a nursing career. 

Brittany first wants to attend a community college in the neighborhood to complete the course basics before joining nursing school. “Your career goals are achievable because you have a clear plan on how to get there,” her elder sister, Aisha Musoke Ogwang, a nurse herself, advised her sibling during the graduation party. 

Ivy Abuga, who also graduated from LD Bell High school, had her cards on her future much closer to her chest. What is known, though, is that she has been the pillar in her family although she is the youngest of the four siblings. “She has always been my rock,” her mother Robinah Kagoro told the reveling community during the joint graduation party attended by four of the graduates. “She has always promised to build a bigger house for me once she grows up and starts working,” Robinah Kagoro told the merry-makers. “I am patiently waiting for that bigger house and I know you will not let me down,” the mother assured. Robinah Kagoro spoke of how her daughter Ivy was such a miracle baby from the time of conception to birth. “When I conceived, Doctors told me that I might not survive because I had high blood pressure. They put me on bed rest for nine months but when time came to deliver my baby, I did so without a problem,” she said with pleasant recollection.

She said that since Ivy was born, she has been doing chores in the house which even her male siblings could not do. Especially, she said: “Ivy has been helping me with computer work and refers to me and my agemates as  ‘BBC’, meaning ‘born before computers’, a revelation that   sent the audience into prolonged laughter. “”Although I am a BBC, I have done a lot to improve my computer skills because of the challenge my daughter put before me. And for that, I am grateful to her to keep me up to speed,” she said. 

Estella Ntabyo, a  deaver in the making like her two elder sisters, Sarah Lubowa and Angie Ntabyo, also received her high school diploma alongside the others. Standing taller than her eldest sister, she exudes confidence and majesty. Sarah Lubowa Muhenda, her elder sister, speaking on behalf of the family, said Estella, since childhood, was a unique girl with an independent mind. “She always did her things differently. One time when she went to Uganda and cut her finger, she asked to be taken to Lake Victoria where she dipped her finger in the waters of the lake an act she said was to ensure her healing and strong connection with Africa, something that surprised most of us,” she disclosed.

Like her two colleagues, Estella wants to join the local community college to complete basics of a course she plans to pursue in future. Her other elder sister Angie Ntabyo, also spoke  of Estella’s independent mindedness and expressed confidence that given her sense of purpose, she will achieve her career aspirations. 

The only male graduate at the dinner and dance party, Shuri Mugabi, received the most spiritual pep talk from his mother, Kate Nyarubona, whose speech drew heavily from the Bible.  Shuri Rubamba Mugabi, who graduated from Keller High School, was in the good company of his parents, Thieri and Catherine Shuri. The mother, Catherine Nyarubona Shuri, advised her son to love God and all his creation by seeking inspiration and guidance from the Bible to keep the faith, to sustain hope, and to gain wisdom in life. 

“Through faith, humility, obedience, and love of God, you will have a sense of purpose and succeed in life,” the mother advised. At this point, she introduced her husband, Thieri   Shuri to the audience and the merrymakers gave the couple a standing ovation.

 

The other graduate, but missing in action, was Gary Calbert Malule Jr., son of Calbert Malule who completed his education from a different high school in the Dallas School District. He plans to pursue a degree in business. He also plans to undertake basics of his course at a community college before transferring into a university. 

His father, Calbert Malule Sr. said the son was unable to come for the joint graduation party because he and his friends had an alternative arrangement scheduled earlier than the one at Barbara Dance Studio.  

Monday Atigo, the President of the Uganda North American Association (UNAA), a resident of the area who was also in the house challenged the graduates to consider their graduation from high school as a beginning and not the end. “consider this as a preliminary milestone. You have a long and tough road to travel ahead of you. Be focused, listen to good advice, avoid bad company, and pursue your career with diligence,” he advised.

He challenged the graduates to always look forward to ensuring that the community gathers again in future to celebrate more of their achievements. “In the meantime, since you are now of age, I invite and encourage you to take up leadership positions in UNAA because we need fresh ideas from the young generation to ensure the success and continuity of  this outstanding organization among all African Diaspora  communities,” Atigo said.

The main points in all the speeches were not lost  on the Master of Ceremony Rev. Kammugisha, who for purposes of emphasis repeated them for the graduates to note of and aspire to perfect. Ivy, do not let your Mom down. As promised, build for her a bigger house in future,” Rev. Kamugisha reminded. To you Estella, your very act of cementing your African roots while on a trip to Uganda challenges all of us. Keep up the African spirit, he repeated.

“To you Brittany, you are going to pursue a path which your elder sister    is already treading. So, your challenge is already cut out for you,” he reminded.  Shuri Mugabi, the only young man who was at the ceremony, he said: “Your Mom is a woman of God. As she advised, fear God and the abundance of wisdom will flow to you.”

The graduation party , at which a sumptuous dinner was served with drinks flowing  flawlessly as the waters of the Nile, was graced by both the young and old in the community continued into the wee hours of the morning.

Veteran DJ Shem Sebugwaawo, who was spinning the music, offered a mix of oldies and contemporary hits that kept the intergenerational revelers on the floor throughout the night. “Tusuze mu ngatto, (we have spent the night in our shoes dancing)”one merrymaker was overheard  telling a friend as they made their way through the heavy downpour to their cars to return home shortly before 6:00 AM on Sunday May 29.

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