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Senior Adobe Yua enjoyed his Senior Prom last Saturday night at the "W" hotel, and is known in the halls of Bishop Dunne as a friendly student with a big smile. Up at dawn every day for the last three years, he's looking forward to working hard in college to make his parents and Aunt Anita proud.

Adobe Emmanuel Yua has been sleeping in this semester.
 
Last semester he was up at 5:30 a.m. to leave his home by 6:40 a.m. to catch the bus from St. Monica’s to arrive at Bishop Dunne Catholic School by 7:50 a.m. He took the late bus back at 6:00 p.m., arriving home by 7:30 p.m. A determined young man, he works hard in class and on the athletic field to be the best he can be.
 
A member of both the varsity football and soccer teams, his soccer team went to the district playoffs, but lost in Brownsville. His Falcon football team did a bit better – it won the TAPPS Division 1 5-A State Championship, for the first time since 1990. “That was a lot of fun,” he admits with a smile.
 
And now with those seasons behind him, in his last month of his last semester of this, his senior year, he’s sleeping in until 6:00 a.m.
 
Adobe’s big smile belies the fact that he comes from a troubled country. Nigeria has been in the news a lot recently, from the kidnapping of 276 girls last April to the senseless killing of innocent lives throughout the country. His mother, concerned for his safety, sent both Adobe and his older brother, Terfa, to America a little over two years ago to live with her sister, Anita. Terfa, Bishop Dunne Class of 2014, is now attending The University of Dallas on a full four-year Paul Wood Scholarship, named after Deacon Paul Wood, also a Bishop Dunne and University of Dallas graduate. Adobe’s aunt attends Oak Cliff Bible Fellowship on Sundays, and when she asked about bringing her nephews to America to attend high school, someone there told her that a “great school is just up the road, Bishop Dunne.”
 
“We applied to Bishop Dunne and the day after we were accepted, we were on a plane to Dallas,” Adobe says. What he didn’t know was that he wouldn’t see his parents for the next 30 months. He hopes his mother will make it to his graduation on May 22, 2015. A journalist, she could see that their country was headed in a dangerous direction. Last year, in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria, more than 40 insurgents and four soldiers died in clashes between Nigerian troops and Islamists near the scene where scores of abducted girls are believed to be held in the north of the country. “The capture of a number of terrorists believed to be the ringleaders of those operating around Alagarmo sparked off a major fight on the outskirts of Bulanbuli, Borno State,” defense spokesman Major General Chris Olukolade said in a statement.
 
Nigeria and the world marked the first anniversary of Boko Haram's abduction of the schoolgirls on April 14, 2015, with protest marches, candlelit vigils, and pledges of solidarity. But as the teenagers entered their second year of captivity at the hands of the Islamist militants, Nigeria's incoming president said he could give no guarantees about their safe return. Campaigners also used the focus on the anniversary to highlight the situation in the girls' hometown should they be released, cataloguing the devastation wreaked by six years of conflict.
 
Muhammadu Buhari, who defeated President Goodluck Jonathan in elections two weeks ago, said there was a need for "honesty,” with nothing seen or heard from the students since last May. "We do not know if the Chibok girls can be rescued. Their whereabouts remain unknown. As much as I wish to, I cannot promise that we can find them," he said in a statement. Candlelight vigils, rallies, and prayers were held from Nigeria to New Zealand to Paris to mark one year since the girls were kidnapped, while others commemorated the missing students and demanded their safe return with #BringBackOurGirls messages. In America, the Empire State Building was lit with purple and red for the missing girls.
 
That abduction of the girls during a physics exam came hours after the deadliest attack yet in Nigeria’s capital — a bomb blast at a crowded bus station that killed at least 75 people. The capital is where Adoba and his family lived. Now fear of school has become ingrained in northern Nigeria. According to an Amnesty International report, over 70 teachers and more than 100 school children have lost their lives. In neighboring Yobe, which has been in a state of emergency for nearly two years, more than 200 schools have been destroyed. In Borno more than 800 classrooms have been burned down.
 
But in Oak Cliff, Adobe has been learning in a quiet, beautiful setting, in a school with gleaming floors and a newly renovated campus, surrounded by green grass and courtyards where flowers bloom and a statue of Mary watches over students in the library through a glass wall where sunshine streams in all day long.
 
Adobe has been spending long days studying and competing in sports, and hopes to attend Texas Tech in the fall. St. Edward’s has offered him a small scholarship, but he wants to pay his way through college if he can, to take the financial burden off his parents and aunt. He understands the sacrifices they have made to keep him safe, and he wants to do all he can to excel. He has been supported by his family at Bishop Dunne, and says that even though he arrived mid-semester his sophomore year, he was accepted right away. He enjoyed the retreats he’s been on each year, but says, “I think the senior retreat was best, because I got to talk to more people.”
 
Was the transition tough, coming to a new country and a new school almost overnight? “I think school is easier here, because Bishop Dunne has better teachers,” he said with a smile.
 
History teacher Mark Clifford says, “Adobe’s really a quiet kid, with great potential. He’s earned a lot of respect from his peers. And he has the most creative handwriting I’ve ever seen - it’s a script that is very unique, almost artistic.”
 
Adobe’s favorite class this year is English with Ms. Maclin, and his toughest is pre-calculus with Mr. Braun. But he’s willing to work hard in all his classes, to get into a good college and make his parents and his Aunt Anita, an engineer, proud. He plans to follow in her footsteps, and major in engineering. He’s not sure if he’ll graduate with a computer engineering or a petroleum engineering degree, but if it’s the latter, he may not stay in America.
 
Adobe may go back. “There’s a lot of oil there. And not all of Nigeria is dangerous. In the south it’s pretty safe,” he explains.
 
After three years of 13-hour days, Adobe looks ahead to four more years of study, and an  uncertain future – but one in which he’ll be well-equipped to excel, whatever path he chooses. This Falcon from Nigeria is ready to soar.
 
“Aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and  to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.” 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12
 

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