For 17 days, Yasmin Mohammed walked under the cover of darkness eating only leaves and bugs as her family escaped Eritrea.
They warded off poisonous snakes and insects during their second attempt at fleeing the country to reach the relative safety of Sudan. Yasmin and her family immigrated to the U.S. in September 2018.
It was her past struggles such as this that instilled in her a determination to be successful in school, according to Thomas Jefferson High School principal Adrienne Chacón, who nominated the TJ ninth-grader as the Federal Way Mirror Scholar of the Month for January. Criteria to be a Scholar of the Month includes perfect attendance, GPA of 3.0 or better, and demonstration of positive and productive behaviors in schools.
“I am a very respectful person,” Yasmin said. “I work hard to achieve my goals because I came 650.8 miles through darkness to do great here. I want to be a model for all people, and all the students. My school is the best school because of the teachers.”
Chacón wrote in her nomination that “from these extremely challenging life experiences comes a well-developed sense of personal responsibility,” adding that Yasmin is “empowering and preparing herself to be a positive and productive member of her new society in the U.S.”
She said Yasmin contributes to both the classroom and school community by being a hardworking, positive and conscientious scholar. She currently has seven As, one B and is taking hard classes such as world history and algebra.
“She is achieving at this high level while still learning her fourth language — English,” Chacón wrote. “She is a positive role model for other students. She has an insatiable eagerness to learn and is evident in every class she attends.”
Yasmin wants to be a dentist someday. She has chosen to independently research the scientific and technological innovations of dentistry for her International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program personal project.
The scholar said she demonstrates hard work by paying attention in class to what the teacher is saying, as well as reading books related to her school work and improving her English.
“Time is gold,” Yasmin said. “We need to monitor our time to be successful, and at the same time be positive.”
Yasmin credits her teachers for helping her to achieve her goals in school. She said teachers are like candles that bring light to learning.
“The teachers, they work hard to gain the knowledge they give to us and I respect them,” Yasmin said. “When I come to class to ask them a question, they smile, they receive me with open hearts.”