Roycemore School

Roycemore Weekly Newsletter May 21, 2019


Roycemore Senior, Iman, with members of the school community who supported him in one way or another during his time in the United States.

From Kabul, Afghanistan to Evanston, Illinois:
How One Student Defied the Odds to Succeed at Roycemore School  

Statistics on education remain difficult to gather in Afghanistan due to widespread barriers surrounding data collection, but a recent estimate suggests that less than 10 percent of students pursue an education until grade 12, and that of the students who choose to study abroad, only about three percent end up in the United States.

From the beginning of his journey to seek an education outside of Kabul, Afghanistan, the odds were stacked against Iman Amini.

Iman’s journey from Kabul to Roycemore School is a broader story about perseverance, overcoming and becoming. From learning to adapt to American culture to expressing himself artistically for the first time, he continues to flourish and defy the odds.

“Iman was identified as a student of promise,” said Adrianne Finley Odell, the Head of Roycemore School. One of his high school teacher’s in Kabul recognized his potential and handed him a list with over 300 schools from China to the United States that accept international students, inspiring him to imagine a future abroad for the first time. With an Internet connection mostly reliable between the hours of midnight and 5 a.m., he spent months researching schools, and over time, he whittled his list down to 50 schools and Roycemore School was one of them. Roycemore School, established in 1915, is a small, top ten Pre-K – 12 college preparatory school with a rigorous and progressive curriculum located steps away from downtown Evanston. When Amanda Avery, the Director of Admissions and Financial Aid, received his application, she felt compelled to bring it to the board’s attention.

Equally moved by Iman’s vision, story and will, the board made an exception and agreed to accept Iman and cover 80% of his tuition (it is rare for independent schools to offer significant financial aid to international students). His family scraped together the remaining 20% - a monumental undertaking for them - and Iman started at Roycemore School in the fall of 2017.

Transitioning from a nation besieged by war and poverty to a country seemingly overflowing in prosperity is not easy. Iman initially struggled to engage socially in a culture where, from his perspective, teenagers wasted so much time. For several months after he arrived, his routine remained unchanged: school, study, sleep and repeat. With the encouragement of Roycemore teachers and staff, including Finley Odell, he emerged from this sequence and began making social connections. He started playing soccer, and he found spaces outside of school to connect with other Afghan families living in the U.S. The school community also rallied around him to help him financially, with families buying him winter clothes and soccer shoes, a board member anonymously donating funds for health care and another board member buying him a bike so that he could partake in an activity he loved doing back home. Two seperate Roycemore families opened their homes to him to host him as a member of their own family. Both his social and academic growth helped him secure a full scholarship to Northwestern University’s Center for Talent Development (CTD) to take a six-week chemistry class during the summer (where he also experienced dorm living).

Just as Iman persevered to clear many obstacles throughout his first year, the community persevered with him. When his family could not cover the remaining portion of his tuition for the 2018-19 school year, others stepped up. Over the second half of the summer, his host family took him to their family reunion in upstate New York. Like others who have met him, he moved them – with his humility, his kindness and his commitment to his academic studies. They shared his joy in swimming and kayaking for the first time, and in witnessing the stunning beauty of Niagara Falls. Several weeks later, Finley Odell walked into her office and opened an envelope. Checks poured out from the family in New York and friends they had shared Iman’s story with, enough to cover the final 20% of his tuition. For his second year at Roycemore, a family with no ties to the school opened their hearts and home to take him in as their own.

His story in America will not end upon his graduation from Roycemore School in June. Roycemore’s college counselor, Stacia Campbell, researched colleges and universities that offer financial aid to international students. Iman was recently awarded a full scholarship to Warren Wilson College in Asheville, N.C. Part of the application process involved creating a video. In the video, he told the admissions committee that one of the reasons he wanted to be accepted was to make Finley Odell happy because she has been like a mom to him. With over 4000 followers on Instagram, a new interest in sculpture and a keen eye as a photographer, Iman continues to discover who he is authentically as both an academic and as an evolving artist. No longer is the question, “will he succeed?,” but “how much incredible success will he experience?”

From the encouragement of a high school teacher 6,941 miles away, to the decision by Roycemore’s board to make an exception, to the compassion of families who hosted him, to the commitment of Roycemore’s staff, and, especially, to Iman’s own resolve, his future is bright. He came to Roycemore School with a dream of one day going back and making a difference in his country. As he continues to embark on the road less traveled, he takes with him the energy, the drive and the intelligence to not just make changes, but to be the change.

Coming Up On The Calendar

- Thursday, May 23rd, What to Know Before You Go (For Graduating Seniors), 2:30-4:00pm
- Thursday, May 23rd - Free Yoga at Roycemore, 5:00pm (All Ages Welcome)
- Thursday, May 23rd, Spring Show, 7:00-9:00pm
- Friday, May 24th, Upper School Awards Assembly, 11:00am - 12:00pm (Parents Welcome)
- Friday, May 24th, Early Dismissal Upper School, 12:00pm
- Friday, May 24th, Middle School Field Day, 12:00-3:00pm
- Friday, May 24th, Upper School Prom, 7:00-10:00pm
- Monday, May 27th, Memorial Day (No School)
- Wedesday, May 29th, 7th and 8th Graders Leave for Washington DC Trip
- Wednesday, May 29th, Senior Appreciation Lunch
- Thursday, May 30th, Free Yoga at Roycemore, 5:00pm (All Ages Welcome)

The Spring Show 2019

Be sure to join us for this year's Spring Show. It promises to be another crowd pleaser as The Roycemore Tumblers have been working hard to prepare their presentation of this beloved story.  

The Lion King
Spring Show 2019
Thursday, May 23rd


School Spirit Store

The School Sprit Store will be onsite and open at the Spring Show!  Want to buy someone a graduation gift?  What about a thank you present for your favorite teacher? Look for Roycemore Spirit gear on sale this Thursday, May 23rd, at the Spring Show.

Please Note: credit cards will be accepted but no cash or checks.

Author Visit

Roycemore is excited to welcome author Laurenne Sala to school to discuss her newest book, You Made Me a Dad. This book is the follow up to her successful first book, You Made me a Mother. Laurenne will lead Roycemore students in activies and discussions about what makes family members special to us and how we can show our appreciation and love.  

Thursday, May 30th at 9:30am
Recommended: Ages 4-8
Roycemore Families Welcome

**Both books are available for purchase and signing.**

Community Happenings

Dust off your running shoes.  The Race Against Hate is in one month!

Join the Roycemore team and start training now!

Sunday, June 16th
Floyd Long Field (Northwestern University)

Choose between 5k, 10k, Youth 1 Mile, or Youth 1/2 Mile events.  For more information about the event options, click here: Race Against Hate

Volunteers Needed!
Contact Griffin Team Captains Darcy Aksamitowski or Bellamy Taylor Pines if you are able to help out at the Roycemore booth.

Three Cheers

A group of Middle School students recently designed and printed custom vents for the radiators in one of the Middle School classrooms. They were making amends for not treating the current vents very carefully and decided to shift their role from being part of the problem, to being part of the solution. They measured out the dimensions, used a program called BlockSCAD to create digital models, sent their code to the Roycemore 3D printer and watched their designs come to life. Now we have new, personalized vents for one of our classrooms - and a group of Middle School students with enhanced technical skills and a stronger sense of responsibility.  

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1200 Davis Street - Evanston, Illinois 60201
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