Friday afternoon we welcomed a very special guest to John Glenn Middle School who personally connected with students in our English Language Learning (ELL) program. A total of seventeen Bedford students attending both JGMS and Bedford High School gathered in our library to meet Ms. Sahro Hassan, a freshman at Mt. Ida College. Saharo was born in a Somalian refugee camp in Kenya who then immigrated to the United States. Sahro met with our ELL students and described her life experiences as she attended public schools in America. Her experiences resonated with our ELL students as many share similar the perspective of an immigrant student learning the English language.
The Boston Globe recently published an article about Sahro which highlighted her experiences and her goal to become a fashion designer. Ms. Gregg, the English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher for JGMS and BHS, read the article and was inspired by Sahro's life story and decided to create a letter writing lesson for her ELL students as many of the students share similar struggles as immigrants who are learning a new language within a different culture. Over the past month Ms. Gregg helped our ELL students express their thoughts in English by writing formal letters, which were then mailed to Sahro. Upon receiving these letter from our ELL students, Sahro connected with Ms. Gregg and they decided to have her come visit JGMS and speak with our students. Our ELL students at JGMS and BHS originate from a variety of global locations including Poland, Italy, Somalia, China, Haiti, Cameron, Israel, Dominican Republic, India and Brazil.
During her visit to JGMS, Sahro described her life story and then facilitated a series of activities designed to support our ELL student verbal communication. Our ELL students prepared for this visit by brainstorming interview questions and then had the opportunity to introduce them-self and then engage in reflective conversation. In describing her experience and Sahro offered our students advice, "I think education is very important..you have to focus. When you do focus you can surprise yourself with what you can accomplish". We are very fortunate to have such a dedicated teacher like Ms. Gregg in Bedford.