Francois Tchoyi ’11
Growing up, I never dreamt of coming to the United States. I always wanted to follow my elder sister, Esther Goura, to France and complete my education there. That dream completely took a 180-degree turn when a couple of my friends, Yannick and Ivan, were accepted to Besant Hill School of Happy Valley the year before me. I learned from them about the opportunity for students from all over the world to go to the United States and have access to education. Although I did not know much about the United States, I was eager to take advantage of this opportunity because I knew it would tremendously help my family financially in the long run. It would also allow me to graduate from high school, and as my mother always told me, “You need to be the exception that makes the rule.” She said I could do this by being the first male in my family to graduate from high school and college.
My first six months at Besant Hill were by far the most difficult ones because of the culture shock and language barrier. That being said, my experience at Besant could not have been any better. If it were not for the support of teachers like Kelly Henschel and Tina Leslie (who inspired me to be a teacher), mentors like Randy Bertin and Kevin Henschel, and friends for life Ivan Matip and Yannick Atanga, I never would have made it. Yannick and Ivan paved the way for me to be successful. Although I accredit my success at Besant to the people mentioned above, I believe that the entire community played a vital role in my progress because I got a chance to interact and learn something from each member.
Looking back at my time at Besant Hill, I am grateful for all my experiences because they propelled me to be successful in college. At Besant Hill, I learned how to be confident in myself and take risks. Besant helped me mature at a pace I wouldn’t have achieved if I hadn’t ended up in this community. The most valuable lesson I learned from the school is “Aun aprendo.” This was the most valuable lesson because I learned that life is the teacher and we are the students. To be successful and reach our full potential, we need to be humble and be willing to learn from others. That lesson helped me pass several classes in college. I learned how to lean on other people.
This fall, I will be coming back to teach at Besant Hill, and it is a dream come true. Besant Hill is a second home for me. Working here will give me an opportunity to give back to the community that gave me more than I ever could have imagined. Besides teaching and coaching, I look forward to being a role model and inspiring and helping students believe in themselves and reach their full potential, just like teachers inspired me throughout my educational career.