As the Salt Lake Valley continues to transform into a melting pot of various ancestries and cultures, many students are finding they have more in common with each other than they may have previously realized.
In Granite School District there are hundreds of students and families from around the globe who now call Utah home. Although coming to a new country can provide new prospects for these families, the transition is often met with several challenges.
A group of graduate students from Utah State University’s Social Work Program has been working on a large research project assessing resources in Utah that meet the needs of immigrant/refugee students and families. In an effort to better understand some of the cultures that are now represented in the state, the group recently invited some students from Evergreen Junior High School to share their heritages through song, music, dance, and storytelling.
Students from Nepal, South Sudan, Eritrea, Myanmar, Thailand, Tonga, Iraq, Nigeria, and Somalia provided a personal perspective for the USU graduate students. The young students were also treated with a campus tour on which they shared their aspirations of attending college.
“I hope the Evergreen students gained a little more pride today about who they are,” said USU graduate student Cherie Mockli. “Their smiles while performing are still fresh in my memory.”
Several of the Evergreen students also had the opportunity to speak with USU international students who share their culture and speak the same native language.
“I hope the students feel a little more excited about plans for higher education,” Mockli said.