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In search of a better education, Nick Wettee left his war-torn country for America. Looking within himself, he's found the confidence to fulfill his dream of helping others back home.

Nick Wettee knows what it means to work hard for his education. Born in Liberia, on the west coast of Africa, he's experienced firsthand the horrors of war.

"When I was about 7, a war started going on in my country," Wettee explains. "The war was very intense. School was not an option, so we didn't go to school."

His father knew it would take a bold move to make sure his children were properly educated, Wettee adds. "My dad is a firm believer in education, so we moved to America to have a good shot at being educated."

Today Wettee is a leader and a dental assisting student at Eastland Career Center in Groveport, Ohio, but he remembers that right after escaping the war, things weren't easy for him. "It was a real tough adjustment," he points out. "I knew English because our primary language [back in Liberia] is English, but I still had to adjust to the accent, because I had a real strong accent. I had a real hard time talking to people because they could barely understand what I was trying to say."

However, experience in SkillsUSA as a local and state officer has helped out there. "SkillsUSA has really helped me build my confidence in speaking in front of a large group of people," he says. "I'm more confident. I don't worry about my accent, but it's the message I'm trying to deliver. My confidence helps them relate to me."

Wettee plans to attend college and then dental school. For now, he is proud to be serving SkillsUSA's high school division as a regional vice president. "I want to broaden my horizons and better myself professionally," he says.

However, the student's plans aren't only focused on his own professional development. He wants to follow his father's example. "There is still a war in my country [of birth]. I still have family there," Wettee says. "I just want to put myself in a position to help them the same way my dad helped me."

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SkillsUSA Champions | Spring 2005 | Volume 39, No. 3
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