ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Ebuela Shindano is the class of 2020’s most selfless senior at Highland High School. The 18-year-old came to Albuquerque in 2016 as a refugee from the Democratic Republic of Congo and started his education as a freshman.
Over the last four years, Shindano has improved his English, which happens to be his fourth language; played for the varsity soccer team; and discovered an affinity for biochemistry. His mentors say overcoming the challenge of adjusting to a new country has not been the only feat he’s conquered.
“He’s really trying to make life accessible to other refugee students so that they have more opportunities to enjoy Albuquerque.”Michelle Perez, Highland High School English Teacher
In 2018, he and his peers from Together for Brothers noticed many of their friends were having a difficult time getting around town without reliable transportation. So, they came up with a solution and took it straight to the Mayor’s Office.
That summer, Mayor Tim Keller met Shindano’s demand with 700 bus passes for students at Highland High School. Some passes worked for two months, others lasted for 100 days. Shindano says the organization is now working with city officials to find funding for bus passes all year round for refugee students in need.
On top of his work with Together for Brothers, Shindano also works with newcomers at Highland who speak French, Swahili, and Kibembe to help them adjust to life at an American high school, and is a member of Future Men, an organization that helps children with their homework.
Shindano says there are parts of his home that he misses, like taking his goats to graze in the forest after school, but he knows here in New Mexico his future is brighter than ever. He plans to attend college next fall.