Afghan refugees start attending class in Wausau
Wausau's newest students come from halfway around the world, and though there have been challenges, administrators said the transition has been smooth.
Middle and high school students started school last week and elementary students began this week. Wausau administrators said they hope to help the students grow.
"They certainly have a lot of hopes and dreams coming here and certainly we are prepared to offer them the support they need so those hopes and dreams are realized," said Chris Nyman, Director of Learning and Student Achievement for the Wausau School District.
Students have been assigned a classmate to follow and ask questions to help make the transition smoother.
"They are really good at watching and observing what others are doing and sort of following and just feeling more comfortable maybe to ask some of those questions to a peer that's been assigned to them as a buddy or as a friend," Nyman said.
Wausau Mayor Katie Rosenberg encouraged the students to give themselves grace as they jump into the new environment.
"There's a lot going on in their world, so new to the school system, new ways of learning, so I think probably give it your best but don't get too frustrated with yourself, I think that's probably good advice," Rosenberg said.
Mayor Rosenberg encouraged current students to welcome the newcomers, and recommends they learn how to say hello in their new classmate's language to help them feel at home.
As the current refugees get settled, there are ways you can help.
"New Beginnings for Refugees" in Wausau is collecting needed items. They are looking for cleaning supplies, winter coats, blankets, technology, and toiletries, and more. You can find a complete list of needed items, drop-off locations, and how to volunteer, here.