CHAMPAIGN — It’s obvious how much Nour Kibech looks forward to Thursday night’s opening services at Parkland College.
“I could start crying now” thinking about it, said Kibech, who grew up in Algeria after spending the first five months of his life in Colorado. “I dreamed of my cap and my dress. I’m so proud of myself.”
Kibech said she received Aces while working toward an associate’s degree in the dental hygiene program.
The 35-year-old, who returned to this country in 2009, had to work especially hard to graduate. It took her two years to complete her “compulsory” classes in order to be ready for her college studies because she did not receive her primary education in the United States. And then another two years to graduate Parkland.
“The transition from the European system to our system was difficult,” Kibech said. “I once tried to go to community college in Virginia. I didn’t know how to reach a counselor, so I gave up.
She said it was not easy to leave her family in Algeria.
“I had never traveled alone without my dad and mom, even 3 miles away,” she said.
His father immigrated to the United States in 2015, followed by the rest of his family three years later.
Peg Boyce, director of Parkland’s dental hygiene program, praised Kibech, saying she worked diligently to achieve excellent grades.
“She treated her patients with care and kindness while honing her skills,” Boyce said. “She intended to communicate effectively regarding their treatment and education to improve their daily oral hygiene.”
Boyce said Kibech is fluent in several languages, which allowed him to translate for patients during their treatment at the dental hygiene clinic.
“She also volunteered to provide oral health education to other Parkland students who were non-English speakers,” Boyce said.
Kibech and her husband, Azzeddine, have an 8-year-old son and a 6-year-old daughter. She was an inspiration to her children.
“I remember one time my son said to me, ‘Mom, I’m going to work as hard as you do. I want to be either a brain surgeon or a pilot,'” she said. to be a cardiologist.”
Kibech, who has a job planned in Lisle, said she graduated for the sake of her children.
“I wanted them to see me study hard,” she said. “I wanted to be a role model for them.
Kibech praised Parkland’s dental hygiene program, calling it “one of the best programs I’ve ever seen.”
“We have such great instructors, such great classmates,” she said. “I enjoyed every minute. We had our (low) moments. It’s normal.”
She said there were times when she didn’t understand something, “but you wipe away your tears. I had a lot of support from my instructors.
Kibech is fired up about his graduation: “Hallelujah! I am so happy. You might think I’m a little kid, like I’m 18.