Werdi and I have been working with each other for over eight years now and he participated in many of the programs I was part of at Syracuse University, including the creation of the Somali Bantu Writing Our Lives summer program. His initiative inspired me to recruit several writers so that young people like him could have reading and writing experiences during the summer months. One of his poems, in fact, In My Shoes, was picked up by another Syracuse University program and made into a short film.
Werdi also informed me he's conducting a reading program for Bantu youth again this summer at the Somali Bantu Center and asked for recommendations to read with 5th - 8th graders. I recommended Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate and am hoping he continues to represent the excellence I learned from him throughout his high school years.
Currently, Werdi is a physical education major at SUNY Brockport, walking in the same big steps as Lossine and Abu Bility. There's never been a doubt about the trajectory Werdi is destined to take. He is one of a kind and a model human being. I'm proud of his accomplishment with citizenship yesterday and am writing this post to wish him the very best.
Purple is passion, and Werdi is a passionate young man!