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Halima Hamadi: I Was Hurting Because I Really Wanted to Walk the Stage

September 20, 2022 | Jeffrey Good

Halima Hamadi: I Was Hurting Because I Really Wanted to Walk the Stage image

Halima Hamadi was supposed to graduate with the Class of 2021. But life — specifically, becoming a teen mom and moving across the country — got in the way.

“When I saw my friends from Houston graduate, I was jealous,” says Halima, who in recent years has lived in Houston, Syracuse and most recently Las Vegas. “I told them ‘Congratulations’ but deep down I was hurting because I really wanted to walk the stage.”

With support from Clark County Acceleration Academies, she recently did just that.

“I let my siblings know that you can still make it,” says Halima, the oldest of 7 children. “I’m 20, I have a child and I didn’t let that stop me from getting my education. When people have kids at a young age, they think it’s the end for them with education. It’s not.”

Halima was born in Kenya but moved here in 2004 with her family to escape warfare and limited opportunity. “We just wanted other opportunities in America — to see where life would take us.”

For the first half of high school, she felt at home. The teachers were supportive, she had a wide circle of friends, she felt like a success.

Then in her junior year, she had a baby boy, Zayne. She got married and moved with her little family first to Syracuse, then to Las Vegas. She couldn’t seem to find the time or the motivation to finish her diploma.

Her husband, Aweis, urged her to aim higher. “He said, ‘A child shouldn’t stop you from getting your education,’ ” she recalls.

A traditional school no longer seemed the right fit; she needed a place where she could work in her free time, set her own pace, and get one-on-one help without having to fight for attention in a crowded classroom.

When she found her way to Clark County Acceleration Academies, the pieces fell into place. She began working her way efficiently through assignments, completing course after course.

The educators at CCAA held her to a high standard, but also showed flexibility when her responsibilities as a young mother created conflicting priorities. English coach Alana Milich was a big help, she said, making sure she understood the material and helping her to craft her thoughts into strong essays.

Also supportive was career and life coach JoAnne Brown, who lent a caring ear when Halima needed advice on juggling her duties and dreams.

“They’re very helpful,” she says.

Now that she’s a graduate, Halima plans to major in early childhood education or another field where she can work with kids and families. She’s been accepted into Onondaga Community College in Syracuse and will begin classes in the fall.

She couldn’t be more grateful. But for Acceleration Academies, “I probably would have just forgotten about school or settled for my GED.”

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