A Heartfelt Experience: Last week, the Sixth Grade made a trip to Portland Adult Education to learn more about, and offer their support to, the new Mainers who come to that school to learn English and make their way into American life. The children prepared for this visit by by writing welcoming messages, translated into the many languages spoken by the students at Portland Adult Education (PAE). They also compiled small bags of art supplies and books to donate for the children who wait patiently while their parents are taking assessment tests. The trip was the culmination of the service component of the Sixth Graders’ knighting experience and brought much joy and inspiration to everyone involved.
The Sixth Grade began their day with a visit to an intermediate English class where they talked, sang and feasted with the English Language Learners who hail from Afghanistan, Angola, Burundi, Congo DRC, Djibouti, Gabon, Iraq, Rwanda and Vietnam. The group heard two refugees tell a bit of their stories and why they came to America. The children were taught how to say Hello, Goodbye, Please, and Thank You in a range of languages from Arabic to Swahili. They all had a chance to get to know each other through small-group conversations before ending their visit by breaking bread with homemade offerings the adults and children brought to share with one another.
Many of the PAE Students are separated from their families and were thus especially appreciative of the time with these children, who they described as “curious, respectful and kind’. One student from Burundi said she was “happy in my heart” to have had time with the children. Everyone left each other feeling grateful for this exchange and clamoring for more time together. The PAE Class is planning to visit the Sixth Grade classroom very soon so don’t be surprised to see some new friends on campus in the coming days.