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Rwandan student credits his parents’ faith, courage, and his Catholic education for his success


Carroll Football | Twitter | Fair Use

Cerith Gardiner - published on 09/06/21

Moving to the United States at the age of 5, Fanuel Uwishimwe is on the path to living out his mission.

Fanuel Uwishimwe was born in Rwanda in East-Central Africa. But in 2009, at 5 years of age, he left his native war-torn land with his family to join his father who was in already in America, working to save money for his loved ones to join him.

Fanuel was very young when he left Rwanda, but his family ensured that he didn’t forget the struggles of his homeland, particularly after the devastating civil war that left the country in ruins in 1994:

“They’ve told me about alarms going off, barricading themselves in the house, trying to flee to another country, hoping things would get better. We’re lucky to be here after all of that happened. If things had gone differently, my parents could have been killed,” shared Fanuel with The Catholic Telegraph.

With the family safely settled in Dayton, the young Fanuel started his education in a public school. However, his family made the decision to enroll their son in the Catholic school system. It was during his time at the Ascension School that the pupil met Pete Williams, who was coaching track and football.

With the influence of Williams, Fanuel decided to go to Carroll High School, where his coach graduated in 1998. There, he thrived in his sporting abilities, as well as developing his faith.

““You can just tell how much the teachers care, how dedicated they are to helping you, to your success,” Fanuel shared.

At the school he also was able to face his challenges, such as biology class, and get the help he needed from school staff. He was also in an environment that gave him the opportunity to find his voice in expressing his political opinions and discussing current events.

And the school’s strong sense of community also helped them through the changes and difficulties brought with COVID.

“It was hard not doing what we normally do, but the teachers kept emphasizing that we’re in this together and that we’re all one, so that helped,” pointed out the student.

Thanks to the solid foundation that his Catholic education has given to him, Fanuel has graduated from Carroll and will be attending Otterbein University, where he wishes to major in sports management.

As the graduate is quick to share, he believes that his parents’ faith and courage, and the community created at Carroll, have been fundamental in the path he’s taking, so far from his Rwandan birthplace.

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