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Alumni Success Story: Jimmy Sandi '07


Jimmy Sandi (07) made a surprise visit to English teacher Terri Bogan’s ninth-grade classroom on Monday, August 21. Sandi presented Bogan with his recently published book, “Lion Diamond Child - Fragments of the Past.” It is his life’s story of growing up in Sierra Leon during the Blood Diamond War in the 90s. He recounts his journey between the ages of four and 12. 

When he was ready to write his story, he remembered the senior portfolio he had written for Bogan’s class. The assignment was to tell his life story, giving tribute to people who supported and walked with him – to look at the challenges he had faced and how he overcame them. He took that portfolio piece and started writing. 

His story is a story of not giving up. It is a study of himself - a search for identity as he processed the things he experienced. As a result, he came to understand the trauma and the PTSD that he suffered. He recounts what he went through, what he suffered, and how he overcame it. He explained to Ms. Bogan's class that it is not always easy, and he has faced struggles and challenges. 

Sandi continues to receive positive feedback from those who have read his book. “I was originally writing the story for myself, and I wanted to have it for my daughter to read someday,” said Sandi. “But I am having fun interacting with people and connecting with people through my story that I never imagined would even read it.” People from Sierra Leone, living all over the United States, have reached out in support and relate to his experience - something Sandi did not expect. 

During his visit at TFS, Sandy took time to encourage Bogan’s ninth-grade students. “I still remember those vocabulary assignments,” he told Bogan’s class. “Those expand your vocabulary and take you far," Sandi said. "The work you do in this class applies to life; it reflects what happens when you leave here.”

For Sandi, TFS was an amazing place. He enjoyed the school and all the nature surrounding it. “TFS gave me experiences I would not have had otherwise. Skiing, rafting, tubing - these memories stayed with me.” Bogan remembers Sandi as a student with a gentle nature – a student others would seek out. “He was always positive, always optimistic,” said Bogan.

Bogan has taught at TFS for thirty years. She tells all of her students, “Everyone has a story to tell,” and Jimmy Sandi is sharing his story. What is his story? Never give up. His book is available for purchase on Amazon.

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