General College program helps refugees graduate high school

Juliah Rueckert For The Daily
General College partnered with area high schools to offer programs that teach English to immigrant students.
Growing up in a refugee camp with cramped living spaces, dirt floors and curtain walls, Yang Xiong didn’t expect to receive much of an education.
After coming to the United States, he was able to graduate from high school, join the army and become a biology major in college.
With the help of General College’s Commanding English Program, done in partnership with Edison and Roosevelt high schools, Xiong and many other students learned to see higher education as an achievable goal, said Nancy Barcelo, associate vice president for Multicultural and Academic Affairs.
Xiong and other program graduates reunited for a reception on Friday and honored the graduating seniors in the program from Edison High School.
This year’s 18 graduating seniors have been awarded about $114,000 in grants and scholarships, Murie said.
They also honored Janet Benson, a retiring teacher and coordinator of the program. She is known for giving up her prep hour for nine years so the students could hang out in her room.