Burma refugee receives scholarship to prestigious college

Eh Nay Thaw
Eh Nay Thaw

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A high school student is an inspiration, proving anything is possible if you put hard work into it.

Eh Nay Thaw, 18, came to America as a refugee from Burma, a country in southeast Asia, also known as Myanmar. He didn't have a typical childhood. His family's way of life in Burma was abruptly demolished in 1997, when Burmese soldiers launched an offensive against his people.

"It's known as the worlds longest civil war," said Thaw. His family fled to Thailand when he was a year-and-a-half. They lived in a refugee camp for 10 years.

"Life it was really really rough there was no transportation, no technology, no electricity," said Thaw.

In 2007 Thaw's family found their way to Kentucky and have made Louisville home.

"That's one of the hard parts when I came to the United States I learned English," said Thaw.  "The basic English for five years. For the education in the refugee camp was totally different from here.'

Waggener High School Principal Katy Zeitz has seen Thaw grow over the years. She said it's no surprise to her Thaw has flourished into the student he is.

"They work their tails off," said Principal Zeitz. "They are used to and come from a culture where there is a really serious work ethic involved in everything you do."

For Thaw, the days at Waggener are coming to a close. He'll soon be walking the halls at another school, Centre College in Danville, Kentucky.

"I'm the first one in my family to go off to college," said Thaw.

Thaw said he never thought about going to Centre because how much it costs. But, he's getting some help.

"I got the scholarship called New Horizons to Centre, it pays half the cost of Centre," said Thaw.

Thaw plans to be an international diplomat so he can one day go back to the country where he was born.

"I want to be able to study here, graduate here and be able to graduate and help my people," said Thaw.

He's proof, that anyone can have the American Dream.

"Anything that challenges you, accept it instead of denying it," said Thaw. "One day, opportunity will come around."

Thaw said credit for his success goes to his family, friends, teachers and church. He's planning on getting a job over the summer before he goes off to college. He's also getting his American citizenship in June.

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