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Gainesville senior Claire Oliver left family abroad so she could graduate back home
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Claire Oliver lived in Gainesville before her family packed up and moved to Saudi Arabia.

She returned to her hometown, leaving her parents and little brother still abroad, to graduate from Gainesville High School with her friends.

Claire, 18, lived in Riyadh, Saudia Arabia, for about a year and a half and then moved to Moscow, where she spent the summer before her senior year.

Now she lives here with a cousin and her older brother.

“I wanted to finish off my senior year where I started,” she said. “I was in the Gainesville city school system since I started school.”

The move back home challenged Claire to be more independent and dependable without parental supervision, according to her grandmother Rebekah Oliver.

Claire has traveled to Spain, Cambodia, Honduras, Bahrain and Colombia for field trips and family vacations. Her favorite place, she said, was Saudi Arabia.

“There’s so much diversity there,” she said. “You might not think there is, but there’s a lot of international jobs that are located there.”

While she was able to attend school in Saudi Arabia, the decision to return to Gainesville for her senior year was necessary for her family, too.

“Schools in Russia, because they are private and international schools, are as much as universities,” she said. “They’re like $20,000 a year.”

Claire attended an American school in Saudi Arabia and maintained a cumulative 3.5 grade-point average despite the many moves. She’ll go home to Moscow in June to spend the summer with her family before college.

She plans to attend Reinhardt College, and though she hasn’t decided on a specific major, she is interested in business.
She said “it was a little weird to come back” to Gainesville after years away, but it’s good to be back with her childhood friends.

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