Kennedy: From rattan hut to Johns Hopkins Ph.D.

Desta Bume, his wife, Selamawit, and son, Daniel, visit friends on Signal Mountain over Thanksgiving weekend.

Hey, Signal Mountain 20-somethings.

Remember that "Desta" kid from high school? You know, that exchange student from Africa who ran track and helped you with your pre- calculus homework.

Well, don't look now, but Desta Bume has met his destiny. Well, as much as you can meet your destiny at age 27.

Today, the former Signal Mountain High School exchange student has a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Johns Hopkins University and a job as a researcher at the National Institutes of Health in Maryland, where he's on a team looking for a cure for cancer.

Let that sink in.

When Bume (pronounced Boo-MAY), came to the United States almost 10 years ago as a 17-year-old exchange student, he arrived with a heart full of hope, a tiny bag of clothes and a big brain.