After the death of her mother, Isha Bojang finds herself alone in a new high school, in a new state, in a new country.
Four years later, she is not only graduating from Airport High School, she is leaving as the school’s student body president.
Even though she was born here in South Carolina, Bojang spent most of her young life abroad. Her father was from Gambia and her mother was from Ethiopia. Shortly after her birth, her father was named a Gambian diplomat in Saudi Arabia, and Bojang lived in the Middle Eastern kingdom until she was 12.
After returning home with his father in The Gambia a year earlier, Bojang moved again to live with his mother in Seattle. But after the death of her mother, she found herself living with family in South Carolina, just before she started her freshman year at the airport.
Being new to school, she started looking for something to take her out of her misery.
“I got into volleyball, basketball, soccer,” she said. “Anything I couldn’t stay at home.”
That restlessness prompted Bojang to join student government programs. She didn’t know anyone, but Bojang’s teacher and student government advisor Daniel Bailey encouraged her to be part of the school’s youth leadership program.
“I saw leadership potential in him,” Bailey said. “She was a shy freshman, but she was a nice person. She could talk to anyone.”
Bojang said she enjoyed the position, which allowed her to be involved in almost everything that happens at school. She organized events for her classmates and helped raise thousands of dollars for the airport’s chosen charity Camp Chemo, an escape for children undergoing treatment for cancer.
“She always finds a way to be there,” Bailey said. “If he needs a ride, the kid has paid for his own Uber to get there. That’s rare in a teenager. A lot will just stop and stay at home. Not Isha. He pushes himself.” gives.”
But above all, Bojang says she appreciates how the student government focused her during a dark time in her life.
“I could just be super sad, but it taught me the skills to deal with it,” she said. “To work hard, to be persistent, and to invest in myself.”
Next fall, Bojang will attend the College of Charleston. She plans to become an OB-GYN.
“If my mother were here,” she said, “she would have followed me and said ‘Go do it.’ It inspires me.”
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