Amelia Wyatt loves the students at La Escuelita, a bilingual preschool in Davidson where most of the students are Hispanic. The 15-year-old feels so vested in their success that she’s written a book to raise money for the school.
The book, told in English and Spanish, tells the story of a bird named Ozzie.
“Ozzie is a bird who comes across an island trying to make a new home for himself, and the difficulties that ensue when you try to do that,” Wyatt said.
It parallels the students’ story as young immigrants working to overcome language barriers and adjust to life in the United States.
“They can be lost or confused and it hinders their whole kindergarten career and you know that stunts you,” Wyatt said. “When you start behind in kindergarten you tend to stay behind.”
Cory Muir, La Escuelita program director, said the school has 28 students, ages 3 to 5 years old. Each class has both a native Spanish-speaking teacher and a native English-speaking teacher.
“By the time they finish one or two years with them, they are able to enter public kindergarten with a level more commensurate with their peers,” Muir said.
Wyatt said her compassion for the students and her desire to write her book were fueled by the challenges her mother faced while immigrating to the U.S. from Colombia as a teenager.
“In understanding sort of that struggle, I can see a real need for this program. I think it is really going to equip them to go wherever they want to go,” Wyatt said. “To get out of the poverty they may be dealing with -- to equip them with everything they will need to be successful people.”
Wyatt hopes to raise $100,000 for La Escuelita, and 100 percent of the proceeds from her book will go to the program, which heavily relies on donations.
To learn more about La Escuelita and Wyatt's book, click here.
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