The School Newspaper of Cherry Hill High School East


The School Newspaper of Cherry Hill High School East


The School Newspaper of Cherry Hill High School East


The Kakauridze sisters share their story of reunion and new beggings

Courtesy of Natalie Kakauridze
The Kakauridze sisters spending time together in Philadelphia.

After 12 years, Elene Kakauridze (‘23), Ketevan Kakauridze (‘24), Natalia Kakauridze (‘25), and Tamari Kakauridze (‘27) were at last reunited with their mother. Separated by thousands of miles, the sisters faced the difficult decision of moving away from the place they called then and still call today “home”. 


In 2008 Russia invaded Georgia creating the start of the Russo-Georgian War, and forever affecting Georgia’s citizens. Most Georgian villages in South Ossetia were bombarded and destroyed, displacing 192,000 people, and killing many soldiers. 


Story continues below advertisement

“I was four years old. I still remember and I hate that moment… because of this war so many people died in our country,” said Elene Kakauridze. 


20% of Georgian territory was taken under Russian occupation. Affected by both post-war economic problems and the global economic crisis, the Georgian economy fell drastically. It was then that the mother of the Kakauridze sisters thought of immigrating to the United States with hopes of finding new job opportunities that would allow her to provide for her daughters.


From the moment their mother arrived in 2010, she knew this would be a great place for her daughters to live and attend school. Though she and her husband are divorced and reside in different countries they both decided that Cherry Hill, New Jersey and its public schools would be best for  Elene Kakauridze, Ketevan Kakauridze,  Natalia Kakauridze, and Tamari Kakauridze. 


“I think it’s a very good opportunity to get your education at a high level because in Georgia the education is not the best,” said Elene Kakauridze. 


But understandably, when their parents first proposed the idea, the girls were entirely against it.  They didn’t want to leave their family, friends, or homeland behind. However, after many discussions with their parents, the Kakauridze sisters agreed to move to the U.S. 


Their official decision to immigrate was made in 2018, but it wasn’t until four years later that they received their green card and arrived in the U.S in February of 2022.   


“I remember when walking down the hallway so many kids looked at me like I was a new animal,” expressed Elene Kakauridze. 


Adjusting to a completely new country and a large school felt nearly impossible to the Kakauridze sisters. Afraid of being judged and unsure how to communicate they remained quiet for the first few months, only speaking in East’s ESL class. They grew close with their ESL classmates because each person understood exactly what they were going through.


“The first three months I was just not talking at all. My classmates probably thought that I was shy but that is the opposite of me,” stated Elene Kakauridze.

Not only was school difficult to adjust to but so were the new customs. Coming from Tbilisi, a bustling city, the Kakauridze sisters weren’t prepared for Cherry Hill’s quiet life. 


“Here people are always working and studying. Not [many people] go out during the week. Georgia was way different because we could go out every day,”  said Elene Kakauridze, “but it gets boring when every day is like a weekend. Here the weekend is a reward” 


Despite numerous challenges the sisters had to face, and the drastic differences between Georgia and New Jersey, it wasn’t long before Cherry Hill began to feel like home. They started joining different clubs and extracurriculars at East, allowing them to meet new people.  


“I took Living Theater and it has helped me to make a lot of new friends and communicate with people. I love it so much,” said Natalia Kakauridze. 


Natalia Kakauridze was always interested in extracurriculars but never got the chance to explore her interests because her previous school in Georgia didn’t offer any. At East, she was told about Living Theater and decided to try it during her sophomore year. After attending only a few classes she realized she had just discovered her newfound passion. 


Despite the vast distance between Cherry Hill and Tbilisi, the Kakauridze sisters continue to stay in touch with their father along with other family members and friends. 


This summer the sisters are living in Georgia for two months and are more than happy to be back to the place they missed so much, seeing and spending time with the people they hold close to them. 


With Elene Kakauridze going to Berklee College of New York this fall,  Ketevan Kakauridze participating in the upcoming senior activities, Natalia Kakauridze returning to living theater, and Tamari Kakauridze beginning high school it appears that their new lives in the US are treating them well, but no matter how many good changes occur the Kakauridze sisters will never forget Georgia and how it’s shaped them into the people they are today. 

Leave a Comment
About the Contributor
Ava Crawley
Ava Crawley, Eastside Features Editor
Ava Crawley is a junior and the Print Features Editor for Eastside. Outside of Eastside, she loves playing field hockey, as well as spending time with her friends and family. Ava is excited to work with everyone to make sure Eastside has a great year!

Comments (0)

All Eastside Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *