Meet Khat from Arizona Lutheran Academy

February 27, 2024

Meet Khat Thareek, a senior at Arizona Lutheran Academy (ALA) in Glendale, AZ. His parents immigrated to the United States from the South Sudan in 1994. Khat is the youngest of seven children and currently the only one living at home. Khat shared with the Arizona Leadership Foundation his family history and education journey. Read Khat’s story here, in his own words:

My dad is a Pastor in the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod. In July 2022, my father was assigned to a pastor’s position in Glendale, AZ, to bring the Word of God to Sudanese people living in this area. To assist my father, I learned to play songs on the keyboard so that I could play during Sunday services. I also help my dad with English and all of the things he does in his role as Pastor. I read his emails, translate English into Nuer (my first native language) for worship folders and assemble the worship folders, count, deposit church offerings and create church reports.

I spend my time working with a non-profit organization, North America Nuer Christian Youth (NANCY), an organization that is part of my South Sudanese Nuer Community. This organization is a group of South Sudanese men and women of the Nuer tribe, whose goal is to bring youth ages 14-35 together as a collective from the struggles the youth in the Nuer community face. Such as drugs, alcohol, and violence amongst themselves and bring them back to God. My role in that organization is working with the younger generation to attract teenagers in middle and high school to get closer with God.

This is my second year at Arizona Lutheran Academy since moving to Arizona. I currently have a cumulative GPA of 3.8 and am an A student. My family background has taught me to highly value my education. We all feel that Arizona Lutheran Academy is the school that provides me with the best education possible. We are grateful for the scholarship for tuition assistance through the Arizona Leadership Foundation to help fund my attendance at Arizona Lutheran Academy.

After high school, I would like to attend GCU and study communications. My goal would be to go back to my family’s homeland, South Sudan, to be a missionary. I want to help the South Sudanese and make an impact on them, knowing the Gospel is truly the priority for a better life. I would like to work my way through the proper channels into the South Sudanese government with the dream of becoming elected President where my Christian leadership can provide a better life for the people.

More about Khat from two of his teachers at Arizona Lutheran Academy:
“Khat has been a fantastic addition to Arizona Lutheran Academy since transferring here two years ago.  It isn’t easy to transfer schools from out of state but the small school experience allowed Khat the opportunity to be involved in sports and student government where he got invested and made friends easily.  Khat is a good student and a hard worker, but the biggest impact he has made is on our community.  He cares about other students and is respectful to faculty and staff.  He influences the school culture with his positive outlook.  I watch him take time to interact with underclassmen.  He is also a catalyst for discussion during our homeroom bible studies.  He’s a great leader.  Khat has been impacted by this school and he has made an impact on this school as well.  Thanks to the AZ Leadership Foundation for helping make this relationship possible,” Mr. Adam Wiechmann, science teacher.

“I first met Khat as a student in my first semester junior English class at Arizona Lutheran Academy.  For many students, coming into a new school as a junior would have been a challenge as new classmates, new expectations, and well-established friend groups often make it difficult for a new student to adjust.  However, Khat immediately proved to be a positive addition to our school family.  Khat is a diligent student with an intrinsic desire for excellence.  His preparation and delivery in speech class displayed confidence and poise.  He is friendly with everyone he interacts with on our campus. Khat’s quick smile puts everyone at ease.  I am thankful for the AZ Leadership Foundation’s assistance in helping Khat attend our school,” Mr. Jon Romsdahl, English teacher.

About Arizona Lutheran Academy:
FAITH – Arizona Lutheran Academy is a place where students grow in their faith. Christ is the foundation for everything we do, both inside and outside the classroom. His truth guides all our teaching, and his grace guides all our interactions.

FAMILY – ALA is like a family. Relationships thrive in our close-knit community: student to student, student to faculty, and faculty to family. At ALA, our families and students receive personalized attention, opportunities to get involved, and access to our administrators.

FUTURE -ALA’s accredited academic program prepares students for a bright future. From college to the workplace, as members of our communities and leaders of their families, our students are prepared not only academically, but also socially, emotionally, and spiritually for their futures.

Visit to find out more about Arizona Lutheran Academy.