AUSTIN, Minn. - In a touching embrace of diversity, Neveln Elementary School held a surprise party to celebrate two of their own striving to become American citizens. Sisters Gnima and Keren Ehon fight like any sisters but just a year ago they were living separate lives. Gnima's father came to the U.S in hopes of a better life.
He couldn't afford to bring his entire family so he made the hard decision of moving just part of the family.
Gnima made the move and was enrolled in Neveln Elementary School.
Her teacher, Stephanie Garbisch, remembers vividly hearing Gnima talk about her sister half a world away.
"About two years ago the students wrote letters to Santa,” Garbisch said. “Most of the kids wrote about wanting toys or electronics but Gnima stuck out to us because she said she wants her sister. Me and the other teachers remember reading that over and over."
"I wanted my sister to come here since I was little because when I came here first ... I was bored," Gnima said.
Last year Santa granted her wish.
“At first I was scared,” Keren said. “ When I saw her I jumped on her. I was so happy”
The sisters are now in the same class. Their teacher says the 10-year-olds are protective of each other.
Wednesday their classmates celebrated their journey from West Africa to Austin.
The girls say they fight over grades and clothes but they are best friends. They hope to work side by side as a doctor and nurse. For now, they are focused on getting good grades and earning their citizenship. They plan to become U.S. citizens early next year.