Despite the pandemic, David Kapuku earned a degree in petroleum engineering from UT-Austin, this spring.
We first met David Kapuku in the fall of 2014, during an orientation for refugee students at Conrad High School in Dallas. He was the students’ guide, showing them around the building.
David had only been in the U.S. for more than a year after arriving with his family from the Democratic Republic of Congo. He was still learning English, but he’d already become a leader in school.
He credits a fellow student for being his guide when he was new. The student was also from Africa and spoke French like David.
“That’s why I say I’m gonna be there to help other people, like refugees or people who came here, but who doesn’t know how to speak English,” David said at the time.
David was one of the students featured in KERA’s eight-part series Generation One, about the challenges facing immigrant students in North Texas and how schools are helping.
Besides the initial language barrier, there were cultural differences and societal norms David had to learn to navigate, which is why when he hears people disparaging immigrants, it feels personal. When he hears politicians – including the president – threatening to cut programs, like the Diversity Visa Lottery, he thinks about his own family. Read More