Seynabou from Senegal


Seynabou at her middle school graduation.

By Braynon Gay, Editor

   Being in a predominately Hispanic neighborhood, Miami High is a school with bountiful students of Hispanic heritage. But amongst its many Spanish speaking students, Miami High has a few students with unique backgrounds and stories to tell. Seynabou Mbengue (pronounced say-nah-boo men-g), a junior here at Miami High, is one of those hidden gems from a unique place.  
Africa to America  
    Seynabou is a relatively new student here at Miami High who moved here in September of 2022 from Senegal, a country in West Africa. “Although I never actually lived here in America till recently, I happened to be born in U.S.,” says Seynabou. “My family remained here another 2 months after I was born before returning to Senegal where the rest of our relatives are located.”  
Life in Senegal  
   While living in Senegal and America both have their perks and disadvantages, Seynabou prefers living in the U.S. “Communities in Senegal are a lot tighter knit then they are here in America, which can be perceived as both good and bad in different ways. Unlike how people can go on vacation and be somewhere completely different without leaving the country in America, in Senegal it’s much harder to get away from that daily life without leaving,” stated Seynabou. Despite this, the closeness of Senegal makes everywhere and everyone feel like one big neighborhood where everyone knows each other. Senegal may be smaller, but the sense of community is strong.” 
     In Senegal, Seynabou lived with her parents and siblings. I have two older sisters. One is 6 years older than me and the other 9 years. Because my older sisters were closer in age to each other than they were to me, they spent a lot of time doing stuff together causing me to feel left out at times,” she says. “I would spend time trying to do everything they did and act older to spend time with them, yet most times I’d end up with our parents.” 
     How Seynabou got back to America is an interesting story“Because I wanted to do everything my sisters did growing up, it was only natural that when one of my older sisters wanted to move here to attend university, I’d want to come along for the journey. I also wanted to move here because I felt like attending high school and college in the U.S. would open more doors in my life than staying in Senegal. It took 2 years of convincing my parents to allow me to come to America, including last year when I was meant to move here and enroll at Miami High but didn’t as my mom became saddened at the thought of me leaving,” she says.  
Life in America 
   After lots of pleading, Seynabou moved here to Miami to live with her older sister, who attends Miami Dade College, and attend Miami High for her last 2 years of high school. “Although I feel like America hasn’t lived up to the pedestal I put it on when I begged to move here,” she said, and the fact that I miss my friends and family, I wouldn’t change my decision for the world. In fact, I wish I would’ve moved earlier for the chance at more opportunities.” 
   Shortly after becoming a student at Miami High, Seynabou tried out for and made the school’s Winter Guard team where she’s had the opportunity to dance with various flag tosses and spins. In her senior year, she plans to become a member of Miami High’s Color Guard rather than Winter Guard. Seynabou also became a member of Beta and Culture Circle. For her senior year she will become Culture Circle’s new vice president.  
    Upon arriving here, Seynabou met all kinds of new friends and gained the nickname Seyna ,used amongst her closest friends. She has a strong personality, attitude, and is a humorous person. She recently was hired at Haagen Dazs ice cream parlor as her first job. “Moving to Miami sure has been a unique experience,” stated Seynabou. “Despite trials and tribulations, I’ve enjoyed every second.”