Sarah Quintenz is running late. She is due in the front office for a new student enrollment, but first she needs to find someone who speaks Arabic. Second period has just ended, so the teacher scans the crowded hallway outside her first-floor classroom. Finally, she spots a Syrian-born student down the corridor. She shouts to him, telling him to follow her to the office.
When they get there, a small crowd has already gathered. At the center stands 14-year-old Mohammad Naser. Quintenz doesn’t know the particulars of his story, just that he and his family fled Iraq. They have been in the United States for all of three weeks. He is flanked by an older brother and a 4-year-old sister, who can’t stop giggling. A representative of the refugee resettlement agency Heartland Alliance accompanies them.
“Hi. How are you?” Quintenz asks. Mohammad smiles, bewildered. Quintenz plows ahead: “Are you nervous? Scared?”
The Syrian …
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