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Having immigrated, teacher understands students needs

Wadre Bayyuk

Warde Bayyuk

Understanding what it’s like to immigrate to the United States, Wardé Bayyuk decided to help others learn English so they could adjust more readily. 

When she retired as secretary at the Cathedral of St. John two years ago, she began to volunteer with Barton School.

She grew up in Lebanon, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry at the American University in Beirut.  There she met her husband, Shibli Bayyuk, who grew up in Jerusalem.
Wardé taught in a private Christian school before they married.  Then they lived two years during his studies in Birmingham, England, before moving to Amman, Jordan, where he taught at the university and she taught fourth to seventh grades.

In 1989, she joined Shibli when he went on sabbatical at the University of Florida.  Deciding to stay in the United States, he taught a year in Kentucky before coming to teach chemistry at Gonzaga in 1991.

After they began attending the cathedral, her volunteer office work became a job. 
“My faith keeps me going and makes me want to help,” said Wardé, teaching immigrants or cooking for housebound or sick parishioners she visits for as part of the cathedral’s pastoral care team.

“I feel compassion for people and I find simple ways to help,” she said. “At Barton, we share stories and common experiences of struggle and uncertainty.  That builds strength.”
Volunteering at Barton School twice a week, Wardé carpools with another teacher who lives near her home in Northwood.

Wardé is pleased that her students improve during the two hours of reading, writing and conversing on common interests—from the economy to children.
‘I like learning about people and how they feel about leaving their countries and coming here as I did.  Most have experienced hardship and some have left behind families,” she said.

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