Valley graduate who fled Syria for the US graduating as valedictorian

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Lana Bridi was born in the United States-- when she was young; their family went back to Syria for almost 10 years. (KFSN)

Lana Bridi was born in the United States-- when she was young; their family went back to Syria for almost 10 years.

Bridi said they weren't planning on coming back to the United States for a while, but conflict in Syria brought them back sooner than expected

"We would hear gunshots and a lot of bombs. Once, we were at school, there was a bomb that was like two miles away and that was really scary."

So in 2012, the family fled the country and came back to the US. Bridi said when she got here; she had a lot to learn-- including English.

"When I moved here I didn't even know what college was because the educational system in Syria is way different."

But Bridi adapted quickly, she was able to skip the 8th grade, and is now graduating high school at just 16-years-old, with a long list of acceptance letters to some of the most renowned colleges.

"I got into Harvard, MIT, Brandis, USC, Cal Tech, Occidental, UCLA, UC Berkeley, UC Davis, and UC Irvine."

The Harmony Magnet student said she has above a 4.4 GPA and is graduating as one of her school's valedictorians.

"She's very intelligent, one of the best I've ever had in my career just in terms of her abilities," said Mark Harriger, math teacher.

Bridi said she can't believe she was accepted into Harvard, but to stay closer to her family she will be going to USC in the fall. She's received a full tuition scholarship and said as part of her application, she submit a recording of herself playing piano, something she's very passionate about.

Bridi said she wants to conduct medical research and become a doctor because of a gastrointestinal illness she was diagnosed with recently.

"That really inspired me to do research and to maybe find a cause for ulcerative colitis and hopefully a cure."

Bridi said it is shocking to see how far she's come

"I do feel like I'm living the American dream, because as I said my life here in the United States started from scratch and I've built it up by my own hard work and dedication."

Related Topics:
educationgraduationsyriaunited statestulare countygood newsStrathmore
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