From Liberia to Maple Grove, Standout Student Comes Long Way
This week’s Standout Student from Maple Grove High School knows how to handle adversity.
Joy Teah is a compassionate student leader who has learned valuable life skills through her experiences.
In the halls of Maple Grove High School, Teah’s brightly colored clothes may catch your eye, but it’s this high school junior’s story that stands out.
“At the beginning, when I first came, it was kind of a change from what I was learning back in Liberia,” said Teah.
Born and raised in Liberia, Teah was visiting family in the United States in 2014 when the Ebola crisis broke out. Teah’s parents returned to Liberia, but their 14-year old daughter stayed in Minnesota with family.
“I think anybody who comes from another country and tries to make a home in a new place, knows what it’s like to start over and have to learn everything again,” said Ben Nicholson, a teacher with the English Language Learner program.
No one has to teach the 16-year-old Teah how to be empathetic to others. She serves as a student guide at Maple Grove High School, showing new students the way forward.
“I remember when I first came here, I didn’t have a student guide at all,” said Teah about her own experience. “I went to fourth hour two times in a row,” she said with a smile.
Teah has come a long way in a short time.
“She’s just an excellent student, a student you would want multiples of in your classroom,” said Hannah Simpson, an English Language Learner teacher at Maple Grove.
Teah no longer needs the help of the English Language Learner program. She earns A’s and B’s in her classes, and she is a kind and caring student leader with a love for art and fashion.
Teah is happy to talk about the brightly colored fabrics her parents send her from Africa, such as a skirt she’s wearing with vibrant reds, oranges, and yellows.
“So I wear a plain shirt, or maybe, white or denim to go with the skirt, so the skirt alone stands out,” explains Teah.
“I think her name just in general is so befitting of who she is. She is absolutely a joy to be around,” said Simpson.
Though Teah is still a year away from graduation, she’s working toward going to a four-year college and then law school.
Teah’s teachers know how far she’s come, so there’s no telling where how far this Standout Student from Maple Grove High School will go.
“She is hopeful, and she is looking for a challenge,” said Nicholson. “Where some students might meet hardship and give up, she pushes through.”