The demand for education from Abaarso continues to grow in Somaliland. In the spring of 2019, we had the largest number of applicants for admission to our school in our history.
We administered our entrance exam to over 1,800 students around Somaliland. This admissions cycle we were able to reach communities in Sheikh and Wajaale for the first time to identify outstanding students to contribute to and benefit from an Abaarso education. After the admissions review process, 48 promising students were accepted into our community.
In another first, we are honored to have Hassan Daahir, our first student ever from our Gabiley Orphanage Program. This is a free tutoring program, in which Abaarso students create and execute lesson plans for English and math with the help of teachers, and then drive 33 kilometers to go and teach for several hours to then come back to their own studies at Abaarso. It's quite a shining example of the kind of sacrificial work model that Abaarso has been built on over the years to provide access to quality education.
On August 13th, our new 7th-grade class finally arrived at Abaarso for orientation excited to start their new journey. During orientation, our 7th graders were prepared for life at Abaarso by Gianna Biaggi, Head of Lower School, and our dedicated staff of new and returning teachers.
This year, our seventh since we implemented the 7th-grade class, we graduated Abaarso’s first class of 7th graders. Currently, most in that graduating class are in universities around the world like Columbia, TCU, and Ashoka. Some are still studying at other secondary schools like Woodstock School in India and Phillips Academy Andover. We are proud of all that they have accomplished.
We look forward to witnessing the community contributions and many successes our new 7th-grade class will bring.