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    Afghan Evacuees Head to School at Fort McCoy

    Afghan Evacuees Head to School at Fort McCoy

    Photo By Sgt. Caitlin Wilkins | An Afghan evacuee teacher, right, helps his student spell the word ‘mouse’ in...... read more read more



    Story by Pfc. Caitlin Wilkins 

    Operation Allies Welcome - Operation Allies Refuge   

    FORT McCOY, Wis. -- Afghan evacuees here are learning English at the Enforcer Kids Academy and Enforcer Adult Class to help as they assimilate into life in the United States through Operation Allies Welcome.

    Each school offers separate classes for children, adults, women and those already fluent in English.

    “My biggest goal is to see them become literate,” explained an Afghan evacuee teacher who leads many of the lessons. “To see my students be an active member of the greatest democracy in the world, I want to see them there.”

    Classes are hosted Monday through Friday for one hour, and include writing, public speaking, and pronunciation guidance.

    “I’ve taught grammar classes, conversation classes and speaking classes for those that have a problem with speaking,” explained a volunteer Afghan evacuee teacher.

    Many students already have advanced degrees from Afghanistan, and just need help with their English so they can finish their studies in America.

    “I want to continue my studies in America,” said a student at the Enforcer Adult Class. “America has more facilities for students like us to complete our studies. I want to get my PhD, it’s one of my goals.”

    The school opened after Afghan evacuees asked to use one of the buildings on post to teach English classes. After some modifications to one of the rooms, classes started.

    “We had school everyday in the beginning,” said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Priscilla Atkinson, a Chemical, Biological, Nuclear, Radiological Warrant Officer from 10th Chemical Company, Fort Carson, Colorado. “We had it Monday through Sunday, but then we cut it down to Monday through Friday because this is how it will be if you go to school in the United States.”

    As the class grew and they started to run out of space, teachers decided to offer multiple classes throughout the day so everyone had an opportunity to learn.

    “In the beginning we had 60 kids in here at one time, and the class was only set up for 50 students,” explained Atkinson. “So we cut it off at between 40 to 45 students per class. Then we made a second class in the afternoon, so there are now two kids classes, that way the kids can get the opportunity to come.”

    While the schools’ main purpose is to teach Afghan evacuees English, it also allows the students to experience American classrooms before they leave Fort McCoy.

    “This was just a start,” explained Atkinson. “So whenever they go to school, they’ve already seen what a classroom looks like. They’ve experienced it. They'll transition from speaking their language into speaking our language, learning ABCs and counting.”



    Date Taken: 10.20.2021
    Date Posted: 10.20.2021 11:23
    Story ID: 407609
    Location: FORT MCCOY, WI, US

    Web Views: 333
    Downloads: 2