A Message from Mark McGough

             Mark McGough

Over the course of the last ten days I have been exploring the possibility of enrolling two Syrian refugee students at Harbor School. These two girls, one entering 6th grade and one 4th, are both survivors of the Syrian Civil War and the dreadful refugee crisis that continues to this day.

The story of their journey to the doors of our school is in one way quite simple. After escaping Syria with their family they spent three and a half years in a refugee camp in Turkey. Following that, they moved to the United States where they lived in Tukwila before eventually resettling on Vashon last year. The 6th grade girl is also a cancer survivor.
These are the simple facts of their journey. There are, of course, more deeply concerning and desperate facts. Both girls have experienced significant trauma and loss. Both have experienced fear and separation. Both have struggled to reclaim their destroyed childhood and both have seen things that no child should ever see. The eldest has at the same time battled cancer. You know, as I do, that their story is tragic beyond words. Unimaginable to most of us living and raising our families on Vashon.
Despite their circumstances, the two sisters are extraordinarily resilient and unique. On their life journey, they have learned Turkish and English, to add to their Arabic mother tongue. They have, against the odds, kept a sparkle in their eyes and a smile on their lips. They have remained strong young women, keen to learn and play. I know that with the right support, they will one day stand up and tell their story in voices that are clear and loud.
I want Harbor School to be the platform for their voices to soar. I want Harbor School to give them the words and the power to not just survive but to thrive in the world they inhabit. I know that Harbor School is the place for these girls to be.
If we are ever called upon to fulfill our mission with integrity and purpose it is now. Now is the time for these two young girls to be inspired. Now is the time for our families to surround them with compassion, to teach them and to learn from them, so that they can in turn do the same for others in our community and the world.
I need your help to make this happen. Right now, Harbor School needs to raise $32,000 for the 2018-19 school year. We will create a dedicated scholarship fund that will help see these girls through their time at our school. A fund that will be dedicated to their education and experiential learning with us.

I urge you to give generously in support of these girls, their family and all of us on Vashon who benefit greatly from opening our arms to welcome them compassionately into our community. I hope you will join with me in making a difference for these two unique and extraordinary girls.

Thank you in advance for your thoughtful consideration. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me directly.

With gratitude,

Mark McGough
Head of School

Help send two Syrian refugee students to Harbor School by clicking the link below.

Make a Scholarship Fund Gift


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