Sophomore student is seen as helpful by peers and teachers


Sophomore Elkana Francois was a refugee in Tanzania and at 9 years old, his family was chosen to be sent out of the refugee camp to another country.

“It wasn’t easy, that’s for sure … ,” Francois said. “You have to learn the language, the customs and the interactions between people.” 

They were put together because of the program WCS, World Church Service, and till this day, he is still in touch with the mother. 

Francois mentioned that school only lasts around 5 hours in Tanzania and students get three recess periods, but they have no lunch during school.

Classes were also structured like an elementary school since there weren’t any strict periods. They didn’t switch classes and didn’t have bells, but the language spoken in class was French though that wasn’t all of the students’ first language. There also weren’t many opportunities after school.

“… [SHS] have many opportunities, you can go many different ways out of secondary,” Francois said. “But in Africa, there were few.”

Making friends hasn’t been very easy for Francois. Though there are students who have similar backgrounds to him in SHS, he finds it easier to get along with students from different cultures.

Swahili Translator at SHS, Patrick Mulwale, has been helping Francois develop his leadership skills.

Francois has been helping other students with schoolwork and even become an office worker after Mulawale suggested that he should be part of it  in case a family comes to SHS only speaking Swahili, so he can help translate.

“He’s a really good leader,” Mulawale said. “He’ll go far if he maintains that.”

Francois, his parents and his four siblings all emigrated to Indiana together. His father was the only one who knew English at the time, so he was considered to have had it the easiest.

But despite his young age, he picked up the English language quickly and used it to his advantage. He learned through the American family he lived with for three months. 

“I’m definitely more comfortable here [America] and that’s thanks to the new people I’ve met over the years that have helped me adjust to life here,” Francois