Sudanese-American graduates with 6 siblings in attendance

In a Wednesday, May 15, 2019 photo, Cham Deng, a graduating senior at Storm Lake High is shown in Chautauqua Park in Storm Lake, Iowa. Deng, born in the Minneapolis area to immigrants from Sudan, will graduate in ceremonies Sunday, May 26, 2019 and attend Iowa Central Community College to study accounting and play basketball.=

STORM LAKE, Iowa (AP) — Six siblings gathered in Storm Lake this weekend to watch their youngest brother graduate from high school, decades after their parents emigrated from war-torn Sudan to the United States.

Cham Deng received his diploma Sunday from Storm Lake High School with a 3.4 grade point average, ranking him 28th in his class of 190 students, the Sioux City Journal reported. Storm Lake is a city in Buena Vista County with a population of roughly 10,600.

Deng also played basketball, averaging 17 points and nine rebounds per game during his senior season.

He intends to further his basketball career next season at Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge. Deng plans to major in accounting.

Stacey Cole, superintendent of the Storm Lake Community School District, added that Deng is community-minded and has been a positive inspiration at the school.

"Cham is a student that can always be counted on to represent our schools and our community with poise and confidence," Cole said. "He is community-minded and will make every community that he lives in a better place to be."

Deng and his older siblings, whose ages range from 20 to 33, are the first generation of their Sudanese family born in the U.S. In the 1990s, their parents fled civil war in Sudan on the African continent.

Two of Deng's siblings live in California. Two others reside in Maryland and one is in Virginia. The oldest, Chuol, works for search engine behemoth Google. Nyjuok recently finished law school at Howard University. Pel is an enterpriser at online retail giant Amazon. Yach is a computer specialist, and Kuony is a linebacker for the University of California-Berkley football team.

Before Cham's graduation, Yach receiving a high school degree from Storm Lake in 2014 was the last time all six siblings were in the city together. A graduation party was scheduled for Friday followed by a Saturday church service at St. John's Lutheran Church in Storm Lake.

"My mom wanted to do a church service, because it has been a while since everybody was here," Cham Deng said. "I am definitely proud. It is something you wouldn't think, from a family of immigrants, to have that much success."


This story has been corrected to reflect that Deng graduated on Sunday, May 19, and not next weekend.


Information from: Sioux City Journal, http://www.siouxcityjournal.com

Subscribe to Breaking News

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.