The Class of 2026 welcomed guest speaker Seema Kakar this week for a discussion illuminating the themes, plot, and characters of Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner, currently under examination by Prep’s English 1 students.

Kakar, who grew up in Afghanistan following the 2001 fall of the Taliban, studied in the United States for much of her high school and college career, and after her family in Afghanistan faced threats from Taliban insurgents for permitting her education in America, she was granted asylum in the U.S.

In 2021, Prep faculty member Mr. Michael McLean of the English Department, then serving as the Jersey City Immigrant Affairs Director, prepared 1000+ pages of immigration petitions and helped begin the process to reunite Kakar and her family safely in New Jersey.

This week’s session began with Kakar presenting a photographic slideshow of everyday life and then transitioned to prepared questions from Prep students, who had read redacted versions of the threat letters and portions of the immigration petitions to draw connections to their own assigned reading.

Topics included education, faith, and reflections from Kakar’s own journey, which has led her to now serve as a caseworker with refugees and displaced people. She encouraged Prep students to encounter individuals from different cultures with open and welcoming minds and to recognize the opportunities that their own education affords them.

In his closing remarks, Michael McLean reminded the Class of 2026 that Prep is “a place that believes in your capacity to do incredible things” and drew attention to the “Men for Others” Charity Club, which is participating in a clothing drive with Welcome Home Jersey City through May 19 to collect new & very lightly used summer clothes for boys and girls, ages 5-18.

The drive will benefit refugee children and teenagers Prep students are currently tutoring from Afghanistan and other areas.

A flyer with more information is available here.