Program at Raleigh middle school helps new foreign students adjust to America

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Making your way to live in the United States can be confusing and stressful.

But, educators in central North Carolina are trying to make it much easier. That’s why Shara Wolkomir’s role in the classroom goes far beyond math, science and English.

“Not only the English but, customs, cultures, how do we walk in a line, how do we get our lunch, how do you say excuse me. There’s so much more to just trying to enter a country and to understand what to do,” Wolkomir said.

They’re vital lessons in order to fit in and function. It can be tough as many have come from war-torn countries or neighborhoods filled with violence.

Khalid Abdullahi is a 7th grader and told CBS North Carolina, “Where we live a lot of people every day, they die, they like kill people over there. That’s why we wanted to move to America”.

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Students are from a variety of countries including Iraq, South Africa, Honduras and Kenya.

The newly arrived middle school students are part of a program called the Newcomers Academy. They are placed in two classroom settings.

One class is filled with only newcomers. The other class is integrated with other students at Raleigh’s Carroll Magnet Middle School.

Khalid and his sister Samira are taking this new American journey together. They also enjoy studying with their new friends.

“We help each other, we do our homework together,” said Samira.

Wolkomir said watching the students not only fit in, but become real participants in society proves to her the method works.

“I am so overjoyed and so full of pride when I see a child that I’ve had from the beginning of the year with zero English and now is talking in the groups, participating, actively getting up, presenting with other kids,” she said.

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