CLARKSTON, Ga. — Alex DeVitry’s journey to a college degree has been unconventional, unlikely and determined.
DeVitry who graduates this month with his associate degree from Georgia State University’s Perimeter College, received no formal education growing up, due to his parents’ religious beliefs. But, at age 16, he studied for and earned his GED and received a scholarship to go to Saudi Arabia.
“I didn’t speak Arabic,” he said. Going to the Mideast was like “jumping into a cold pool of water. It was a culture shock.”
DeVitry adapted, learned the language and lived in the midst of political change now known as the “Arab Spring.” He studied Islamic theology and Arabic, and his experiences shaped his career ambition to work in international relations or counterterrorism.
After returning to the United States, DeVitry enrolled in Perimeter College at age 19. He was elected president of the History and Politics Club (HaP) and selected as a senator in the Student Government Association.
In 2015, family issues caused him to leave home and drop out of school. He got a job and lived with a former classmate.
“I knew I wanted to finish my degree, but didn’t know when,” he said.
In the fall of 2017, he reenrolled.
“Alex is an outstanding student, who has a tale of intense persistence … ,” said Bob King, associate professor and faculty advisor to the HaP club. “He helped rejuvenate Perimeter College’s Model Arab League team. Because of his passion to begin again, and because of his fierce dedication and leadership, our team as the Kuwait delegation received four awards this year.”
DeVitry, now 24, will be the first in his family to graduate from college. His younger brother is also a student at the Clarkston Campus.