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WKU to honor 2012 Family of the Year

Jafar and Ashraf Boka and their children will be honored Saturday as the 2012 WKU Family of the Year.

As part of Parent & Family Weekend activities, the Boka family will be recognized at halftime of the WKU vs. Southern Mississippi football game at Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium. Kickoff is 6 p.m.

WKU junior Keyana Boka, the youngest of three children, nominated her family for the award.

“Through WKU my family began our unique story of internationalization, and unique definitely describes my family,” she said in her nomination letter. “My parents came as college students embracing a new life, culture and language in a different country. They motivated us to always work hard and move forward, but to never forget our roots.”

Her parents arrived at WKU in the late 1970s and married as freshmen. Their plan to earn their degrees and return home to Iran was altered by the 1979 Iranian Revolution and the Iran-Iraq War.

Following the birth of their first child, Kamy, and unable to return home, the Boka family settled in Bowling Green.

“One thing my family wholeheartedly agrees on, aside from being Persian, is being part of WKU,” Keyana said.

Her father, Jafar, received his bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering; her mother, Ashraf, received a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and has worked for several years as a teacher at the WKU Campus Childcare Center; her brother, Kamy, majored in biology and chemistry and is a physician in Detroit; and her sister, Kathy, earned degrees in public health and nursing.

“As the last child, naturally the Hilltopper spirit passed on to me,” Keyana said.

She is a junior in the Honors College at WKU, is majoring in biology and worksite health promotions and studied abroad in Turkey last summer. She participates in undergraduate and Honors research activities, works at the Gatton Academy and serves as executive vice president of the Student Government Association.

“My family shows that differences can be a good thing,” Keyana said. “Despite the busyness that drives our lives, no matter the topic or time of night, my family manages to stay connected. Each of us has our own strengths, but our support for one another and our love for the Hill are shared. It attests to our own love and care. And for that I owe my successful college experiences.

“Western Kentucky University holds so much memories, accomplishments and value for my family. They are absolutely the proudest alumni I know. WKU will continually hold a special connection with each of us.”

Contact: Amy Miller, (270) 745-4395.

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