"It's a privilege to call myself a Cowboy," Rawhide Elementary School Principle Bertine Bahige said in a new video for his alma mater, the University of Wyoming. "The world truly needs more cowboys and I'm proud to be one of them."

No UW alum understands the spirit of the 'World Needs More Cowboys' campaign quite like Bahige. At 13, he was kidnapped from his home in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and trained to be a soldier. After escaping from the rebel group that captured him, Bahige arrived at a refugee camp in Mozambique, where his unlikely journey to Wyoming began.

Bahige was part of a refugee resettlement program that brought him to Baltimore, Md. After enrolling in community college, he supported himself by working three jobs before eventually earning a scholarship to study at the University of Wyoming.

“The University of Wyoming gave me a chance to dream about quality education,” Bahige said in UW's distinguished alumni biography. “As a refugee who arrived in this country that I now call home with virtually nothing, I knew deep inside that education was a key to a successful future, but most importantly to an opportunity to give back to this great state and community that welcomed me."

Bahige graduated in 2009 with a B.A. in mathematics. After earning a Master's degree from South Dakota State University, he took a job in Gillette teaching math at Campbell County High School. In 2015, he was hired as the Principal at Rawhide Elementary School in Gillette.

“I consider myself a Cowboy and a proud product of the University of Wyoming,” Bahige said. “A true Cowboy is a hard worker—someone who is ready to roll up their sleeves and get to work. There is nothing compared to the resiliency and the hard work of a cowboy!"

Along with staring in their latest promotional video, Bahige will be the featured speaker for UW's 'World Needs More Cowboys Celebration' in Gillette on September 19th.

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