Skip to content
Boy studying for an exam
In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, students must pass a rigorous test called the Examen d’État before they can graduate.

Graduation Time in the Congo

Note: Names have been changed to protect the safety of the children at Theresa’s House.

This year, Theresa’s House is so proud to have four students who are graduating high school and beginning new journeys.

While graduation in the United States usually happens at the end of May, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, celebrations don’t begin until September.

The education system in the Congo is different than in the United States. At grade 9, students enter into a lycée and begin specialized training for their chosen field. At the end of grade 12, all students are required to take the Examen d’État in order to graduate and qualify for entry into a university. This test is very rigorous and comprehensive and takes place in June or July. Students don’t receive their results until the beginning of September. If they don’t pass, they have to retake their entire senior year. This is very cost-prohibitive for most families in the Congo — if students don’t pass the first time, many cannot afford a second chance.

Students and families in the Congo take on many more personal expenses than students in the United States. In addition to tuition, they must pay for textbooks, school supplies, and even paper for tests and quizzes. A test like the Examen d’État can require up to two reams of paper.

All of the students at Theresa’s House attend private Catholic schools, which have higher tuition than public schools but also provide a better education. Thanks to the support of our donors, we are able to provide for all of their tuition and school supplies.

We are so proud that these four students have not only passed their Examen d’État, but have received some of the highest scores in their schools. Learn more about their future plans below!

Richelle & Sally

We were doubly blessed with the graduation of sisters Richelle and Sally this year!

Richelle and Sally came to Theresa’s House when their younger sister was very sick. Both of their parents had passed away, and they were being cared for by an aunt who could no longer afford to provide for them. They lived with Theresa’s mother for six months before coming to live at the orphanage.

Through a fortunate twist of fate, we were also able to reunite them with their eldest sister who they had not seen for many years.

We are excited to announce that Richelle will be joining us in Sioux Falls to study at Augustana University! We have been so proud to see Richelle grow into an excellent student and generous young woman. She has already been studying pedagogy at lycée for two years and graduated at the top of her class. Once she passes her English language exam, she will receive a scholarship at Augustana and will be double-majoring in education and psychology. After graduation, Richelle plans to return to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to share her experience by becoming a teacher.

Sally is very artistic and will be studying photography at the University of Kinshasa. She will continue living at Theresa’s House, and we are happy to have her close to home so that we can continue to support her on her journey.


Angeline is very ambitious and has wanted to be a doctor since she was young. Although she initially struggled in her math classes, her determination to study medicine motivated her to improve, and she recently graduated with the highest test scores in her school.

Angeline will be attending the University of Kinshasa to study in the pre-med program. She will be living with an aunt, and we will continue to provide her with partial support. With her compassionate heart and hard work ethic, we know Angeline will make a wonderful doctor!


William will begin studying business administration at a Catholic University in Kinshasa this fall. He will also begin working at the bakery to help us with accounting and management.

He currently lives with his aunt, and we provide him with partial support. But he is working hard to get his own apartment. We couldn’t be prouder of the fine young man William has grown up to be!

Fingers holding a heart

Join our email list

Get the latest news from Theresa’s House delivered right to your inbox! Fill out the form below to subscribe to our email list.

Email Signup