Story by Tom Crain
David James, Superintendent of Akron Public Schools (APS) says that several of Akron’s schools have been undergoing significant change due to the influx of refugees. “Little did any of us know the U.S. foreign policy decision made nine years ago would bring into our schools a story that is truly inspirational in an American way,” he says. “And now, with so many articles and broadcasts coming out of our refugee schools, much of America is aware.”
North High School (NHS) was waning in attendance for years and was in danger of closing altogether before refugee resettlement kicked in. Now, NHS has become known as Ohio’s most diverse public school.
Posted in Community, Education, Neighborhoods, Youth
Tagged Akron, Akron Community Foundation, Akron Health Department, Akron Public Schools, Akron Reads, Akron Summit County Public Libraries, Akron’s Bhutanese Community Association, Asian Services in Action, bhutan, Bhutanese, Burma, Community, International Institute of Akron, Nepal, North High School, North Hill, Schools, Students, Summit Education Initiative, The Love Akron Network
Story By Tom Crain
“In the beginning, I was really freaked out,” confesses ninth grader Sabbitri about her first couple months transferring mid-year from a Nepali refugee camp school to Akron’s North High School. “I couldn’t get the combination on my locker to work. The other high school girls had beautiful makeup and clothes and wild hairstyles in all different colors. They were always laughing and texting each other. They were so much happier and prettier than I was.”
The transition from Nepal’s refugee camp schools to America’s public schools is a challenge for most Bhutanese students like Sabbitri. The Nepali government places a strong emphasis on its monastic-style of teaching where its Bhutanese refugees go to school, providing nine years of free education for them. Lessons are taught in British English and Nepali.
Posted in Community, Education, Youth
Tagged Akron Public Schools, America, Burma, English, English as a Second Language, Iraq, language, Mexico, Myanmar, nepali, North High School, Public Schools, Refugee Camp, Students, Teachers, Thailand, tutors
The long and arduous process includes Akron
as a key resettlement sanctuary
Story by Tom Crain
Walk any neighborhood in North Hill these days and you’re bound to take note of a distinctive culture of new immigrants frequenting the residential sidewalks, business districts, school playgrounds and city parks. They wear colorful shawls, saris and robes of homespun wool accessorized with decorative gold and coral headpieces, bangles, rounded wool caps and turbans. Most talk in a funny dialect called Nepali (similar to Hindi or Punjabi) accompanied with a written alphabet resembling “chicken scratch.”
These distinctive and striking people have also created a new crop of Asian markets piled floor to ceiling with rice-filled burlap sacks, shelves of dried mango powder, cardamom pods, fermented millet wine and in back, goat meat and pig’s feet. New cafes feature the popular cuisine of momo (dumplings) and thukpa (noodle soup). The many who are non-Christian, congregate in temples practicing Hindu and Buddhism. The youth form their own soccer clubs and also play cricket. These tight-knit families can also be seen on warm, sunny days fishing, frogging, berrying and ‘shrooming all along the city’s nature trails.
Posted in Community, Neighborhoods
Tagged Akron, Asian, Bhutanese, Burma, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton and Akron, International Institute of Akron, Myanmar, nepali, North Hill, Office of Refugee Resettlement, U.S. Department of State, U.S. Refugee Admissions Program, United Nations
Nearly fifty men and women from 30 different countries took an oath
of allegiance at the Akron-Summit County Public Library and became U.S. citizens
June 30 as part of a naturalization ceremony. (Photo: Chris Miller)
About 50 residents were officially given their U.S. citizenship on Tuesday. The Naturalization Oath Ceremony, held at the Akron-Summit County Public Library’s Main Library auditorium, awarded citizenship to people from India, South Korea, Burma, Canada, Hungary, Belarus, China, Lebanon, France, Peru, Mexico and Cameroon, among a few dozen other countries.
The International Institute of Akron (IIA), the event host, was on hand to celebrate the naturalization of these citizens. Elaine Woloshyn, executive director of the agency, served as the event moderator, which was fitting considering all the work the IIA has done to help prepare these and other new citizens. The International Institute has helped immigrants and refugees for almost 100 years. Akron has a wealth of agencies to help these residents, including Asian Services in Action (ASIA Inc.)
Posted in Neighborhoods
Tagged Akron, Albania, and Cameroon, Asian Services in Action, Australia, Belarus, bhutan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Burma, Canada, Colombia, Croatia, Egypt, Estonia, France, Gabon, Hungary, Immigrants, India, International Institute of Akron, Israel, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Laos, Lebanon, Mexico, Oath of Allegiance, People’s Republic of China, Peru, Philippines, Refugees, Russia, South Korea, U.S. Citizenship, United Kingdom