Mireille Kibibi’s march to the graduation stage at Berry College was tough — laden with the burdens of war, CNN reports. As a little girl, she fled civil war in Burundi and escaped toneighboring Rwanda in 1994, the year of the genocide. In the chaos, she was separated from her mother, whom she has never seen again. Her father died a few years later. Kibibi made it to the United States with her grandmother in 2005 and resumed school after missing fourth, fifth and eighth grades. Now she was about to receive a bachelor’s degree in accounting. She felt all those things a college graduate feels: the relief that exams are over. The excitement of starting life in the real world. The joy of making your family proud. But Kibibi’s graduation was also filled with longing. On this humid Saturday morning, as dark clouds delivered drizzle over North Georgia, Kibibi, 23, sat nervously among 377 classmates.

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