16 Chin Students Graduate from High School
Newsletter: June-July 2013
Please join with us in celebrating these 16 Chin students who have finished all the course work for Lewisville High School, in English! There are no words to describe their accomplishment.
The majority of the graduating students arrived in the United States in 2008 or later and were unable to read and write in English. Each student was required to start in 9th grade, no matter their age, since they had no “credits” to transfer from Burma.
The Chin community, in general, still does not completely understand the importance to the American job market of a high school diploma. There is no mandatory education in Burma and those villages that can afford a high school only go through the 10th grade. The community pressure is higher to drop out than to finish because their families need their children to work to help support the family.
This is not only a salute to the students themselves, but to the parents who did not force them to drop out, even with valid economic reasons to do so.
Congratulations to the LHS Chin class of 2013 and to your families -and thank you to all the Americans who helped them along the way!
The Chin population of Lewisville and Sherman have just gone through a 2-month long pink eye epidemic. Besides the fact that pink-eye makes the entire family uncomfortable and can potentially harm a baby’s eyesight, it costs the Chin student weeks of missed school days which they cannot afford to lose.
To make matters worse, this year's strain was particularly difficult to treat and several of the Chin had to go through two rounds of medication before it finally cleared up. Most frightening - it truly exposed the vulnerability of the Chin population and their lack of medical understanding, in addition to the lack of a medical home for Chin adults who cannot get Medicaid in Texas and can’t afford insurance.
As with any epidemic, there are heroes. First, the school nurses of Lewisville ISD who were on the front line - diagnosing, trying to enforce the school policies regarding contagious diseases, and trying to communicate to parents who are not home or do not answer the phone.
Second, Julie Redus, Community in Schools campus social worker at Lakeland Elementary, whose school was hit the hardest. Julie created a valuable flyer for us to translate that explained the basics of pink-eye and how to keep it from spreading. The flyer was distributed to the doctor’s offices treating the families, to the school nurses, and to Chin parents. She also handed out laundry detergent and Germ-X and tried to get the kids to the doctor. Julie, you were awesome.
Third, our translators, Benny and Emma, who logged so many hours acquiring medical help for the kids and the adults, explaining to the parents how to keep the infection from spreading, and picking up kids from school.
Last, but not least, Dr. Shane Taylor, a member of The Village Church Flower Mound, who made house calls for us so we could get some of the hardest hit kids back in school.
Thanks to all of you.