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New Book Profiles Immigrant Teenagers at South High School

Dec. 12, 2017

Contact: Jessie Smiley, Media Relations,

Author Helen Thorpe Reunites with Students She Profiled in Newly Released Book, The Newcomers

Denver – Throughout the entirety of the 2015-16 school year, award-winning author Helen Thorpe was a fixture in Edward Williams’ English Language Acquisition class at South High School. She was there to follow the journeys of 22 immigrant teenagers as they learned English and adjusted to life in America. Now, upon the release of her critically-acclaimed book, The Newcomers: Finding Refuge, Friendship, and Hope in an American Classroom, Thorpe is returning to South High School for a panel discussion on Wednesday, Dec. 13 with Edward Williams and several of the students whose stories she shares.

From the book overview: “Speaking no English, unfamiliar with American culture, their stories are poignant and remarkable as they face the enormous challenge of adapting. These newcomers, from fourteen to nineteen years old, come from nations convulsed by drought or famine or war. Many come directly from refugee camps, after experiencing dire forms of cataclysm. Some arrive alone, having left or lost every other member of their original family.

At the center of The Newcomers is Mr. Williams, the dedicated and endlessly resourceful teacher of South’s very beginner English Language Acquisition class. If Mr. Williams does his job right, the newcomers will leave his class at the end of the school year with basic English skills and new confidence, their foundation for becoming Americans and finding a place in their new home.”

There will be opportunities for media questions to Helen Thorpe and the panel participants.

Panel discussion on the just-released book The Newcomers: Finding Refuge, Friendship and Hope in an American Classroom

Award-winning author Helen Thorpe, Edward Williams and several students profiled in the book

Wednesday, Dec. 13
10 a.m.

South High School
1700 E. Louisiana Ave.