Bertine Bahige

State: Wyoming

City of Residence: Gillette, Wyoming

Country of origin: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Arrival in the U.S.: 2003

Mr. Bertine Bahige fled the Democratic Republic of the Congo at the age of 15 when rebels raided his house and tried to forcibly recruit him. Traveling alone, he undertook a dangerous journey to a refugee camp in Mozambique. In 2003 he was selected for resettlement in the United States, and was originally placed in Maryland. In 2006 Mr. Bahige was offered a scholarship to the University of Wyoming where he received a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics and Education. He then went on to complete a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from South Dakota State University. He now lives in Gillette, Wyoming with his wife and two daughters. After teaching mathematics for eight years at his local high school and coaching both cross country and soccer, Mr. Bahige became the high school principal. He was awarded Campbell County School District Teacher of the Year in 2015-2016. Of all his contributions to his community, Mr. Bahige is most proud of being involved with at-risk youth at his school, and being a strong advocate for ESL students.

What the U.S. means to Bertine: Changed my life!