Sabika Sheikh's host family in US shares heartfelt memories

01:43 PM | 22 May, 2018
Sabika Sheikh's host family in US shares heartfelt memories

Houston - The heartbroken host family of Pakistani exchange student, Sabika Shiekh, who lost her life in a shooting at a high school, remembered her in a memorial prayer ceremony held in Houston.

Sheikh, 17, was one of the 10 that had been killed during firing at Santa Fe High School last week. The deceased student lived with the family of Jason Cogburn whose daughter, Jaelyn, also studied at the same school and remained safe in the incident.

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At the event, Cogburn recalling the days Sabika spent with his family, comprising three daughters, three sons and a wife, said “We had no idea what God was going to send us” when he and his wife offered to provide accommodation a student through the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study program. “He [God] sent us one of the most precious gifts that I’ve ever had in my life,” the host father said.

He said that his family and Sabika used to do things together, even in Ramazan they joined her in fasting.

“We loved her and she loved us,” he said. “She came here to represent Pakistan, and let me tell you something, she represented it well.”

He said, "I really just want to thank Mr. Sheikh for raising such a wonderful daughter from Pakistan and to [let] her come over here and be a part of her family for the past six months. It was incredible and we loved her."

Host mom Joleen Cogburn when took to the stage for sharing her view she all the way struggled to control her tears while recalling Sabika. She said the deceased teen had come to learn about American culture.

“I always told her, ‘Sabika, you have a warrior’s heart,’” Joleen said. “She wanted to . . . impact the world, and I think she’s done that.”

The schoolmate-cum-friend of Sabika, Jaelyn Cogburn, said she was the most amazing persons, adding that she will always miss her.

“It was very hard for me [to join school] because I didn’t know anyone. I met Sabika and she didn’t know anyone either,” Jaelyn said. “She’s the most amazing person I’ve ever met, and I will always miss her.”

Remains of Sabika Sheikh

The body of the deceased teenage girl will arrive at her hometown tonight. According to the relatives, Sheikh will be laid to rest on Wednesday morning.

Earlier, her funeral prayers were offered at a local mosque in Houston on Sunday. The funeral service, was scheduled by the Pakistani Consulate in Houston at Sugar Land's Masjid Sabireen and attended by a larger number of people.