OWATONNA – A group of Somali students from Minnesota State University, Mankato were at Owatonna High School on Tuesday afternoon to help fellow Somali students prepare for college life.
Abdullahi Abdullahi helped start the Somerica Student Union at MSU to make sure college students had resources to exceed at the college level. The 14-person group started last year and has been traveling to high schools to help future Somali college students.
OHS senior Mohamoud Egal, who plans on attending either St. Thomas, Augsburg or MSU this fall, was one of 15 students at the presentation.
“I was looking to learn about Somerica better and also to support its presentation,” said Egal.
Not everyone in the crowd was Somali. Powch Gilo is Ethopian.
“I wanted to get more knowledge about the college process,” Gilo said. “I’m not Somalian. I’m Ethiopian, but we all got through the same circumstances, so it’s better to learn from people who have been through it.”
The hour-long presentation discussed the college application process, the importance of the ACT, how to acquire student loans, how to pick a major and the need for an internship. For students like Egal, the presentation wasn’t as important as the people giving it.
“Not often do I see people, who are also Somali, succeed at high levels,” Egal said. “To hear about their experience is helpful because I don’t have anybody in my family who I can say went to a school of higher learning.”
Several members of the 14-person Somerica committee were in attendance. Abdullahi said he made sure to bring people who have different majors, so questions could be answered.
Somerica plans to attend other high schools in May and could return to Owatonna High School.
Derek Sullivan can be reached at 444-2372.