In August 2017, shortly after John F. Kelly became White House chief of staff, he convened crucial meetings on Afghanistan at President Trump’s golf club in Bedminster, N.J.
“When I first took over, he was inclined to want to withdraw from Afghanistan,” Kelly recounted during an exclusive two-hour interview with the Los Angeles Times.
“He was frustrated. It was a huge decision to make … and frankly there was no system at all for a lot of reasons — palace intrigue and the rest of it — when I got there.”
The retired four-star Marine general will leave the administration on Wednesday. First as Homeland Security chief and then in 18 months at the White House, he presided over some of the Trump administration’s most controversial immigration and security policies.
Even so, Mandy says her students are “innately hopeful, because they came out alive.” “The kids are so excited to be in school,” she said. “It’s a moment in their day where they know what is expected.” They’re generally at the Newcomer Center for one semester before transitioning to Ferris or one of Spokane’s other high schools. They spend five periods a day with Mandy, learning English and math, and one period with another teacher working on basic computer skills like how to use software and navigate a website. They interact as much as possible with their peers at Ferris High, going to pep rallies and sporting events and staffing the student store. It’s a great way to make friends, practice their English, and get to know their new community.
Mandy shared some of her students’ unforgettable stories. She told me about a 14-year-old Sudanese girl who arrived at the Newcomer Center in 2012 after spending much of her life in a refugee camp in Kenya. The girl had a fourth-grade education and spoke very little English when she arrived in Spokane. But through a ton of her own hard work and support from her teachers, she graduated from high school in four years. Today she’s enrolled at a university here in Washington state, where she’s studying to be an elementary school teacher.