The challenge of balancing family and school during COVID 

  • Concord High School senior Frank Mucyo at his home at Royal Gardens in Concord where he helps out with his brother and cousins plus working at Walmart. Mucyo will be attending SNHU this fall. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Concord High School senior Frank Mucyo at his home at Royal Gardens in Concord where he helps out with his brother and cousins plus working at Walmart. Mucyo will be attending SNHU this fall. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

  • Concord High School senior Frank Mucyo at his home at Royal Gardens in Concord, where he helps out with his brother and cousins when he’s not working at Walmart. Mucyo will be attending SNHU this fall. GEOFF FORESTER / Monitor staff

  • Concord High School senior Frank Mucyo at his home at Royal Gardens in Concord where he helps out with his brother and cousins plus working at Walmart. Mucyo will be attending SNHU this fall. GEOFF FORESTER—Monitor staff

Monitor staff
Published: 6/16/2021 4:10:11 PM

On an average school day during remote learning, Concord High School senior Frank Mucyo would wake up at 6 a.m. to make breakfast for his little brother and two cousins.

Next, he would drive his youngest cousin to her in-person preschool and return home in time to make sure the others were awake and ready for class. He would help his second-youngest cousin access her remote Kindergarten class, and then help his brother access his fifth-grade Zoom call.

Then, Mucyo was ready to start his own school day.

With his mother and aunt busy at work early in the morning and his older brother busy with his first year at the University of New Hampshire, the responsibility fell on Mucyo’s shoulders to take care of the children during remote learning this year, while also attending school himself.

“It was really tough, but whenever I think about it, it makes me proud because it gives me a sense of courage that I did it,” Mucyo said. “Even though it wasn’t easy, I did it. And my mom was proud of me.”

Throughout the year, Mucyo has balanced difficult classes with club meetings, sports, a weekend job at Walmart and also household tasks, such as driving his family to get groceries and helping out with English translation.

Mucyo grew up in the Gihembe refugee camp in the Northern Province of Rwanda.

In 2015, when he was 12 years old, he and his mother and brothers were resettled to Concord. Mucyo spoke Kinyarwanda and Swahili when he arrived in Concord, but no English, though he learned quickly through classes and by reading books. Mucyo said moving to a new community was hard because of the culture shock and the language barrier, but his family pushed through the challenges.

“I would say the struggle and everything we faced in our refugee camp, I feel like it made us strong,” Mucyo said. “When I look at my friends that are left back there, when I look at the struggle that I came through and now I am going to college, it makes me appreciate everything I have right now. I am just really thankful that I got this opportunity to change my mom’s future and my future.”

At Concord High, Mucyo is a member of Be the Change Club and played on the boy’s varsity soccer team, something that has helped him get noticed by several college recruiters.

“I played soccer for the whole four years of high school. I would say it was a great experience because I got to meet new friends and then my English got better,” Mucyo said. “Some friends that I met from my freshman year, I take them as my brothers.”

COVID-19 made senior year the toughest one for Mucyo, who was taking some difficult classes. But he said the assistance he received from school tutors and a social worker helped him through remote learning. When Concord High returned for five-day-a-week in-person learning April 19, after the governor’s back-to-school order, Mucyo said he saw “huge progress” in his grades right away.

His favorite classes at Concord High have been construction and electrical classes in the construction trades program at the Concord Regional Technical Center. After graduation, Mucyo will be attending Southern New Hampshire University where he plans to major in project management.

“I feel proud of myself and proud of the class of 2021 because especially COVID, everything was so tough,” Mucyo said. “But we got through it and we did it.”




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