Midland School Program Reaching Out to International Students

By Sarah Snyder
NewsWest  9

Imagine being a kid going to school in a new country for the first time and not knowing the language. 

That's what they're dealing with at the Midland School District, but a new program is helping  international students deal with all that anxiety.

"I'm from El Salvador, and I love this place," San Jacinto 7th Grader, Melissa Alfaro, said.

She's a student at the Newcomer Academy, a program teaching students from all over the world right in Midland classrooms.

"The growth is here and it's not going to stop," Newcomer Academy Teacher Less Vela, said. "It's going to be a constant growth."

Since August, over 65 international students have been studying at San Jacinto Junior High, Lee Freshman, and Lee High. And in the Spring, they're expecting those numbers to go up dramatically.

"Its amazing what they can learn in such little time," Vela said. "They're little sponges."

As families move in for the oil boom, the number of students, particularly from Burma is going up.

"I want to learn more English," Thawng Bik, a 7th Grade Student from Burma, said.

When Melissa started school just seven weeks ago, she only knew a few English words, now she knows over 2,000.

"2,000 new words," Melissa Alfaro said. "Wow! In the past 7 weeks, I no understand English and now, yeah! I love this program."

And one thing's for sure, they're happy to be here.

"It's cool, I love Texas!" Alfaro said.