It’s been hard for 11th-grader Shahed Salhab ever since her school closed last spring because of the pandemic. Salhab moved to Texas years after fleeing Syria with her family because of the civil war there. For more than five years she lived in Lebanon where she wasn’t able to enroll in school. The pandemic brought back painful memories of not being able to learn like other kids her age, and of family members killed in the war. But that experience also taught her not to take her education for granted. Salhab says when she thinks of the war, she turns to her mother who tells her to “let everything out.”
“We always talk about it so I won’t feel the stress,” Salhab said.
“It was really, like, sad that you see kids going to school and you couldn’t. It caused me a lot of pain.”
“I didn’t lose anything in COVID, but, like, in Syria and when the war happened, I lost people. I saw scary stuff I’m not supposed to see. … Every single moment, I still remember even though I was 7 years old at that time.”
“When I came to here, I couldn’t understand so much because I speak zero English and I didn’t know how to write. But I put so much effort to speak English. And here, there is an ESL teacher who teaches me a lot of things and I got them quickly. … When I came and found the opportunity to study, I couldn’t stop myself.”