Our son is completing his first year at Fork Union. We sent him away to school during a pandemic. We sent him away to school after a difficult move from his home country, not knowing anyone here in the United States. We sent him away as a boy who was unsure of himself and painfully shy. We were so afraid to send him away from us knowing all the serious challenges he would be facing. Our hearts were broken watching him leave knowing we wouldn't see him for months on end, knowing we could only talk to him for a short time each day.

Laith will be coming home to us for the summer, no longer a boy, but as a young man confident in who he is. We are receiving a young man who is future looking for the first time in his life. He will arrive home a young man who found value in himself.

He is tired. He is aching to be with his family. He is exhausted from the year, but he knows he is better for the hard work and dedication that he has put into this year.

We are exceptionally proud of Laith and all of his hard work. His straight A average, his quick rise in rank, his effort to move out of his comfort zone to join sports he didn't know how to play are all reasons that we are proud of him. All of these things pale in comparison to the pride we feel seeing the man inside him. He cares about equality for everyone. He cares about being a gentleman and treating others with respect. He takes seriously his responsibilities. He knows how to communicate and strive for independence. These are the true mark of a man. These are the qualities and values which we are so proud to see in our son. It will be our great joy to watch him grow even more confident in the years to come.

A current parent