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Noor Alnoman, 18

Noor Alnoman thinks of herself as the girl that lost pieces of herself moving from one country to another—from Iraq to Syria, to Turkey, to the US. That is how her childhood escaped her, forced to run from one war to another, until she got to Austin, Texas. Though losing everything—from her beautiful, innocent thoughts to the burned remains of her favorite toys— is a painful loss, Noor believes life chooses inescapable paths for us.

Noor emigrated from Baghdad, Iraq, spending 2009-2011 in Syria and 2012-2013 in Turkey before arriving in the United States in 2014. She is now a senior at Stephen F. Austin High School, and will finally graduate this spring! All the struggles she’s faced and lived through, even war, could not stop her from finishing her education. Noor is not a person who gives up. She is confident that her life experiences made her the strong person she is today, helping her accomplish all the things she never thought she would be able to do.

In the fall of 2019, Noor plans to attend Austin Community College to study dentistry, as she enjoys studying about health and will soon be able to help others and make a difference. As a writer, she likes to write about the experience of others, immigrant history of the U.S. and tough issues (like she’s experienced) that the world doesn’t focus on. She believes it is most difficult to write about oneself when doing so reveals the difference between how one views themselves and how the world views them. She is confident that youth have a lot of power to speak out and will make lots of big changes out there. Writing is one of the tools that youth can use to show the world and make them open their eyes and realize what is going on in the real world.