Panel of students speaking to INA students

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TCU education majors led groups of students from the International Newcomer Academy on campus tours.

TCU students took the students to Amon G. Carter Stadium, the Mary Couts Burnett Library, the Bailey Building and the Brown-Lupton University Union.

Junior Katelyn Crow said, “It was really important for them to see what college is like and what their experience might be like so that they could really see themselves pursuing higher education and going to college.”

INA is a school in the Fort Worth Independent School District that helps refugee and immigrant children adjust to American culture. Students come from all over the world, speaking several languages.

Breakdown of INA students by birth country.
Breakdown of INA students by birth country

 

Languages spoken by INA students
Languages spoken by INA students

 

Dr. Cecilia Silva established a partnership between TCU and INA about 20 years ago.

Silva and Dr. Sara Philips work with parents coordinator Faiha Al-Atrash to give TCU students experience and INA students exposure.

Al-Atrash said students spend two semesters at INA learning English and content subjects (social studies, science, math, etc.), before being mainstreamed into FWISD high schools based on where they live.

The INA students have several reasons for coming to America and have enjoyed INA.

Learning to speak English has been the most beneficial lesson for students. Being able to speak it gives them hope for a better life than their home countries.

“College is a far-away dream for them, especially refugees,” Al-Atrash said.

Al-Atrash said bringing these students to TCU shows them college is not just a dream. The visit shows college is available for everyone who works hard and dreams big.

Silva and Philips both said TCU students build a rapport with INA students and faculty that will help them later on when applying for jobs.

“Working with ESL students and newcomers adds something that schools want and puts them ahead of the curve,” Silva said.

Silva said each TCU student has assisted at INA to learn how to teach students when there is a language barrier.

”Most of my students have been in the country about four months or less,” Crow said. “I had a really great teacher helping me along the way, and these kids are the nicest, sweetest, most hard-working kids you will ever meet. They’re amazing.”

Silva, Philips, Al-Atrash and Crow said they wish more people in Fort Worth knew about INA.

Al-Atrash said she has lived in Fort Worth for 20 years and began working at INA when she heard about it eight years ago.

“This experience has been absolutely amazing, life changing,” Al-Atrash said.