Former war refugee defies odds to graduate from Wheatley High School

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A Houston high school student will graduate near the top of his class after facing unspeakable tragedy as an African war refugee.

Dieu Merci plans to attend Texas A&M and dreams of becoming a doctor.

Merci, 18, came to America with his mother and siblings in the 6th grade. He's from the Congo.

His father died during the conflict, and his family fled and eventually entered a refugee program.

"In the beginning, it was rough because I couldn't speak the language English," said Merci. "I want to be a doctor in the future so that I can help other people."

Merci is currently a student at Wheatley High School. He'll graduate 14th of 196 students.

HISD's interim superintendent awarded Merci a $5,000 scholarship today. It was a surprise. He says he's grateful for the kindness of others who've helped him succeed.
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