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Wildcat Post

The Student News Site of Hazelwood West High School

Wildcat Post

Coming to America

Student Spotlight: Alieu Conteh

Alieu Conteh is a junior at Hazelwood West High School and has recently moved back to America from living in Johannesburg, South Africa for nearly all his life. Even though he has not participated in any school activities this year, during his sophomore year Conteh has participated in track and football and enjoyed every part of it. 

“We [my family] were traveling to a lot of places when I lived with my mom and dad. I think around seven or six when I officially moved there [Johannesburg]. I spent almost 10 years there until I came here around August of 2022,” Conteh said. 

People’s properties are called compounds with a wall splitting everyone’s yards from each other, not being able to talk to your neighbors as Americans do. Calling South Africa his home, the one thing that Conteh misses most about South Africa is the people that surround him every day.

“Sometimes. I…I miss the people that I was with. I don’t really miss it as a country, but I miss the people that I was with,” Conteh said. 

Education is a big part of Conteh’s life, and is way different in South Africa from America. At Hazelwood West, students have a way to look at their grades and have to meet a certain amount of credits to graduate. Separate from America, South Africa has a test every year to decide if you will move up to the next grade level. You don’t have to do anything all year and then take the test and pass, not learning anything.

“Oh, it’s very different. We don’t have a class grade, we don’t have Tyler SIS, most of our work is on paper. And I was in private school. We have school buses, but it’s not like here school buses, like normally people get driven to school  or they walk to school,” Conteh said. 

Born in America but raised in Johannesburg for nearly 10 years, it’s hard to choose a place to call home. Moving to Johannesburg at such a young age and not really remembering anything, moving back to America has been all about experiencing new things and is Conteh’s way of choosing a side.

“I mean, I was there for so long that I definitely like here better but I like here better because everything is just new to me, and I don’t know everything. I’m learning,” Conteh said. 

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About the Contributor
Andrea Vepley
Andrea Vepley, Staff Writer
Hey! I’m Andrea Vepley and a junior at Hazelwood West High School. I'm from North Chicago, Illinois and recently moved to St. Louis about three years ago. Some school activities I participated in are Writers Week and Special Olympics. I really enjoy doing Writers Week because I am able to write things that many students at West can relate to. And being able to be a part of the Special Olympics was an experience I won't forget. My hobbies are writing poems, reading and sleeping. When I think of something or just have stuff to say, I make sure to get my pen and my notebook, so I can turn it into a poem. I read books rather quickly and sleeping just makes time go away for me.   I’m excited for the newspaper because writing articles about people who can make a difference towards others is just so inspirational! Having a career in journalism is something that I look forward to after I graduate. Hopefully, I will make new connections with others and get to know a good deed about them.
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