Feature / News / The Diaspora

Denver-born teen returns from Ethiopia in pursuit of big dreams

By KYLE DYER,  9NEWS   MAY 28, 2015

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Yabi Dereje Kyle Dyer

DENVER – The class of 2015 at East High School is referred to as diverse and forward thinking.

That is definitely the case for one student who joined the class as a junior. In her short time at East, she has grown dramatically and now knows exactly what she wants for her future.

Yeabserea “Yabi” Dereje was born in Denver but moved to Ethiopia when she was four. She grew up amidst a large, extended family.

However, as a teenager, Dereje realized she needed to make a big change to secure her future.

Two years ago, Dereje left Ethiopia to return to Denver. She left her family and friends and the comfort of a small community within the capital city of Addis Ababa.

That’s something most 16 year olds would have a hard time doing.

Dereje is not like most teenagers. Her optimism and joy is evident the moment you meet her. After a few minutes of conversation, you pick up on her drive and compassion for others.

For as strong as she is, starting Denver’s East High school was intimidating at first.

“When I arrived, I didn’t even know there were so many teenagers alive,” Dereje said. “I grew up in a school with 300 people maybe and it was from kindergarten to 12th grade. I come here and there are 600 in my class. For the first six months, I was a little quiet. It was really hard to get used to.”

Read the full story on 9NEWS

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KUSA-TV © 2015 Multimedia Holdings Corporation. All rights reserved

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