Ali Al Jayab hasn’t known much stability in his life. Al Jayab, 14, is of Palestinian descent and was born in Baghdad, Iraq. And then the war broke out.
“They take people, even the kids,” he says. “War, I saw it. My uncle died in there.... my cousin too.”
He says he was sad to leave his home in Iraq. He brought nothing along on his journey to the Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria, except clothes. In Syria, Al Jayab made friends but wasn’t able to attend school. After nine months, it was time to leave. Another war had broken out.
In 2013, he and his family moved to Tuscon, Arizona. While attending school there, Al Jayab says he had no motivation to learn English. That all changed when he came to Encina Preparatory High School the following year. “I love Encina,” Al Jayab says. “It’s great. Encina is not like bad like others saying. No. It’s really good. You can learn fast.”