Marian Pritchett High School serves the needs of pregnant teens in Boise School District at the Salvation Army's Booth Memorial Campus. My friend Deborah Hedden-Nicely is the head teacher at Marian Pritchett School. Every school year I am interested in her students and their progress. I have visited the campus and talked to some of the girls about my experience as a working mother. I support and appreciate the efforts made by all those who make it possible to keep this program going.
One of the many interesting students who attended Marian Pritchett High was Bahati Haji. She was the keynote speaker at the June 2 graduation ceremony of the 2010 class. Bahati was born in Somalia, from which she ran in search of safety. For her, that safe place ended up being Boise.
Bahati arrived in the United States in 2004. She was married in 2006 and began attending area schools. Pregnant with her first child, Bahati started at Marian Pritchett High School in 2007. She is model wife, mother and student. Her determination is fierce and, at her young age, she has overcome adversity that most of us will never know.
In her words, Bahati stated, "My father picked my name—Bahati—seven children who died and I lived. I was the lucky one."
Here is her keynote address.
Good evening. My name is Bahati Haji. I would like to welcome you all here tonight to honor the graduating class of Marian Pritchett School of 2010. I am proud to share the stage with this group of young women. Even though our backgrounds are so very different, we have a bond that is as old as time — the bond of being moms. I could speak tonight about my life and my journey to Boise, Idaho, but every girl on this stage has made a journey to get where they are right now tonight. My journey is not any more special then theirs. I want all of us to think about his evening as a beginning. What journeys lay in front of us. Let us leave the pain and sorrow of the past behind. We all now must decide what is next. As it was with our journey to Marian Pritchett School, the next road will require us to answer questions and force us to look down every road and choose the next beginning. Will we always choose right? I think not. Will we pick ourselves up and try again? You bet! For this is only our beginning. College, jobs, being parents, being caregivers, that day to day life is all out there waiting for us in all its glory. We will not hold our breath any longer — it is beginning. Thank you to my fellow students for being just who they are. Thank you to all the teachers at Marian Pritchett School who made perfect moments happen every day for all of use. Let it begin!