Bosnian refugee goes to Harvard

ST. LOUIS - History was made this year at Bayless High School. For the first time one of their graduates, a Bosnian student, is going to Harvard. The achievement is the subject of a documentary recently showcased at the Tivoli.

Irhad Sehovic and his family moved to St. Louis 14 years ago as Bosnian refugees. The filmmaker is an exchange student, also from Bosnia.

It's called Harvard Man, and was featured at the St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase.

"I called my mom and I called my dad and my mom was crying at work and my dad is jumping, I could hear him jumping up and down from the phone," said Irhad Sehovic, an 18-year-old Bayless High School student who's been accepted to Harvard. "I feel proud to tell people about my story and what I've gone through and what my family has gone through, and I just want people to be inspired."

Now, a University of Missouri-St. Louis exchange student, Hari Secic, also from Bosnia, is making a documentary film about Sehovic's Ivy League acceptance and his family's history.

"Irhad is a great example of a successful young man and his parents have been through a lot especially his mom," said Secic.

"She escaped with just a few people otherwise everybody in her village was killed, so they come with great trauma," said film producer Rita Csapo-Sweet.

Sehovic was only 4-years-old when he came to St. Louis. His parents made their children's education the top priority.

"I hear him talk about it everyday to everyone and I understand he's a proud father, my mom is just a little sad to see me go," said Sehovic.

The filmmaker plans to profile other St. Louis Bosnians, but wanted to start with Sehovic's story.

"This whole story from the past is always present in their lives and that's just one of 50 - 60 thousand stories in south city and in south county," said Secic.

Irhad starts college this fall, with the hopes of working on Wall Street one day.


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