Success StoriesDreams of a Grandmother, Travels of a Scholar
Less than two years ago, at the Rainier Scholars Annual Luncheon, Kelabe
Tewolde stood in front of nearly 1,000 people and told his story. He
introduced us to his mother and his grandmother and shared their hopes
for his future. Kelabe now attends Colgate University, a top liberal
arts school nestled in the Chenango Valley in upstate New York. "It's a totally different game in college when it comes to the volume and depth of work,"
Kelabe says about the inevitable challenges he faced freshmen year.
He's is settling in as a sophomore, enjoying not only the relaxed and
calm rural environment, but also the intellectual and emotional space
that college allows. "I love the independence here. It's my choice of
what, and how much, I want to be involved in an activity. I also like
being out in the middle of nowhere - it lets me focus on myself."
This opportunity for self-introspection and growth is, arguably, one of
the most compelling reasons to go away to college. Kelabe has thrived in
the open space, finding friends he respects and trusts. He is close to
declaring a double major in political science and education and maybe
most importantly, following a passion that may well fuel his future.
As Kelabe reflected on his own story at the 2013 luncheon and revealed his gratitude for the support surrounding him, he also reflected on his family legacy. He proudly affirmed, "Today I stand on the shoulders of my grandmother, as the keeper of her hopes and dreams, knowing she imagined a life of choice and opportunity for me and the ability to determine my own destiny." Now across the world in a township in South Africa, Kelabe has found at least one aspiring student who in a few years may well say he stands on the shoulders of Kelabe Tewolde.
By Tom Moore