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Inaugural Delegation from Cambodia

Monday, September 11, 2017
Cambodia Delegation 2017/18
Cambodia Delegation 2017/18

For many Cambodian students, studying at a private school in the Western world looks far more like a fairy tale than a potential reality. Even staying in school through high school is difficult, if not impossible, for children in many parts of rural Cambodia. That’s why we’re so excited to partner with the groundbreaking Jay Pritzker Academy to welcome our first Cambodian students as ASSIST scholars this year.

Students of the Jay Pritzker Academy enjoy an excellent college-preparatory curriculum, three well-rounded meals each day, and the support and mentorship of thoughtful, encouraging educators from

Cambodia and other parts of the world.

This year’s ASSIST scholars from Cambodia, Sokhoeun and Sreyrath, have both excelled at the Jay Pritzker Academy. Sokhoeun dreams of becoming the first in his family to graduate from high school and go on to college, and he works tirelessly to that end, even volunteering at a neighborhood organization to help other students learn basic English.

Sreyrath is the first of her family to travel outside of Cambodia, and she expects to be the first of her family to graduate from college. Sreyrath said she’s blown away by the size of the fruits, vegetables, and even ice cream scoops in the U.S.

 “I am looking forward to making new friends, getting familiar with Western cultures and other cultures from other parts of the world…and of course to have fun from surprising activities I’d never get to do at home including shopping in huge super markets or doing ceramics,” Sreyrath said. She faces the same time management challenges of every high school student taking a heavy course load. This year, Sreyrath is particularly excited about taking AP Biology, AP Calculus, Mandarin I, Ceramics, and World Literature, while also participating in cross country and other activities.

Sokhoeun said his first impression of America is different than he expected; even at his school, the diversity of cultures and languages looks a little overwhelming. “Right now, everything starts to look better, and I [am enjoying] my life at school more and more.”

Sokhoeun is excited about his four AP classes as well as Chinese language studies this year. He’s excited to try his hand at lacrosse when the season begins this spring. “I am most looking forward to making this year one of my best experiences,” Sokhoeun said. 

We’re convinced that Sokhoeun and Sreyrath will be the first of many ASSIST scholars to be vanguards of academic growth and accomplishment in rural Cambodia—and to impact their American schools in big ways this year.