Stough brings culture to DGS


Kora Montana and Sherwin Thomas

One of DGS’s very own staff members, Kindrina Stough, grew up in Uganda, the Congo and South Africa until her freshman year of college. Stough said she was born in Michigan, but her parents moved to South Africa for her dad’s business.

“My dad actually grew up there, and he was the third generation that went back … My great-grandparents and grandparents were out there as missionaries. My dad went back for business and him and my mom met out there, but we moved for his work,” Stough said.

After moving to South Africa, Stough said she lived a very different life in South Africa than the one she currently lives in the U.S.

“Obviously the infrastructure is different, the roads are typically not big enough for the number of cars getting to and from. It takes longer to get to places because of traffic … Here in the US I can drive pretty much anywhere, or I can take public transportation,” Stough said.

“People where I grew up tend to live in different kinds of fear. Depending on where I was it was either a fear of the government and its army or a fear of the people around them, whether for racial reasons or simply because cities were riddled with crime,” Stough said.

Besides of the physical differences, Stough said that the quality of life she lived especially contrasts that of an American.

“Overall, I’d say it’s a lifestyle that’s more laid back, and you’re more focused on the events than on the time, so things very often run late. Conversations are typically more expressive and interactive. I grew up with a specific emphasis on the importance of treating elders with respect,” Stough said.

While in South Africa, Stough attended international schools so often times, her classmates were from all different countries. Everything was taught in English, and the school year was based on the American calendar so students from the U.S. were able to go to school there.

“I loved it because I got to see different cultures, different people, do things that a normal kid growing up in the States wouldn’t get to do … I had teachers from around the world … We learned more about the countries and cultures and societies around us,” Stough said.

Stough said that although the curriculum was different in terms of what she was learning, she was challenged in her school work like students would be at DGS. In her last two years of schools, she was enrolled in International Baccalaureate, or IB classes, which are similar to the work of an AP course.

Stough decided to work in a high school because she said she just loves hanging out with teenagers.

“Through college, I did a lot of camp stuff, and being a [substitute teacher] is a lot like going to a camp. It’s a very short term, and when you walk in you get to enjoy the students, and then leave this big pile of work,” Stough said.

During her time in South Africa, Stough said she underwent many realizations about herself.

“There are many aspects of my personality that I could easily blame on my upbringing. My view of family and society is a little bit different. Like I said, I was surrounded by a culture that puts a high emphasis on respecting your elders, so I see that come out a lot when I’m around people who are older or above me…

“I tend to be more open-minded than the people I’m around here in the U.S because I’m so used to being surrounded by different opinions and worldviews, so I thrive in places more like that,” Stough said.