Running, Art Plays Bigger Role for Cloquet's Seju

By KBJR News 1

May 14, 2014 Updated May 14, 2014 at 8:56 PM CDT

Cloquet, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- In Africa, running was a way of life for Richmond Seju.

Now in the States, it's translated into success on the track.

"He's got so many natural skills," said Lumberjacks head coach Timothy Prosen. "I kind of liken him to a wild horse right now that just needs to be tamed, needs to learn. Once he does, he's going to be unstoppable."

That day may already be here. On Tuesday, the Cloquet senior set a school record in the 100m dash.

But his life hasn't always been about being first across the finish line. Growing up in Liberia, Seju says it was more about just surviving.

"We used to grow up not knowing if there was going to be a war or if we're not going to see the next day," he said.

Because of that, Seju moved to the United States with his parents when he was 12 years old.

Then, as a high school sophomore, he relocated to Cloquet to live with his uncle.

"Now, I don't have to worry about what's going to happen the next day," Seju said. "I can just live freely. All I have to worry about is school and stuff like that."

While Seju jokes he's never lost in the 100m dash as a Lumberjack, that's not the only thing he excels at in Cloquet. Just ask his art teacher.

"Throughout the years, I've seen him progress from just being able to copy a picture to coming up with his own compositions and drawing realistically to drawing more from the heart," said Cloquet art teacher Julie Deters.

"When I do art, it's not all about making the picture look good. It's about telling a story," he said.

It's about telling his story, one painting at a time.

"Sometimes my art might see like some really dark subjects. It kind of shows like the struggle we had, me and my family," Seju said.

By putting those struggles on the canvas, he is free to run.

"For him it's definitely therapeutic," Deters said.

Not away from the fears that haunted his past, but toward whatever the future holds.

"I want to go to college for business. I want to be a business person," he said. "I want to open my own business and then help my country out."

Posted by Sarah Wheeler
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