Newcomers High School Welcoming Workshop: A Welcoming Assembly


NEW YORK, NY, May 21, 2012—First Person American and the Human Rights class at Newcomers High School, in partnership with Facing History and Facing Ourselves, presents a Welcoming Stories Workshop—a 10-session workshop to explore personal immigration narratives from high school students about the people that welcomed them and changed their lives forever. The Welcoming Stories Workshop encourages students to become more welcoming, and to inspire other immigrant students to share their own story about someone who made a big difference in their lives when they first arrived. The workshop will conclude with a student-led assembly, A Welcoming Assembly, at Newcomers High School, in Long Island City, on Friday June 1, 2012.

The Welcoming Stories Workshop is an education outreach program created by First Person American. The Human Rights class at Newcomers High School—a 100% immigrant high school in Long Island City—taught by Ms. Julie Mann, is comprised of 29 students all of whom are recent immigrants from all over the world (Bangladesh, Iraq, Madagascar, Montenegro, Cuba, El Salvador, Poland, etc.). By partnering with the Human Rights class, First Person American gave students the opportunity to explore how sharing their personal immigration stories can improve human rights for other immigrants.
To help students capture and share their own personal stories, the workshop integrated design-based critical thinking and hands-on learning. Through the workshop’s curriculum, the students learned about storytelling, journalism, video production, and gained a deeper understanding of immigrant integration. Over the course of 10-weeks, students reflected on their own story and participated in the production of video interviews of their peers. The last three sessions of the workshop focused on using the students’ experience to help another student by being welcoming. Armed with ability and knowledge, the students made a difference in someone else’s life being welcoming to him or her.

The assembly will start with students breaking into small groups for a peer learning session. Each group will be lead by a student of Ms. Mann’s Human Rights class. Groups will learn how to be more welcoming by listening to their student leader’s workshop experience, and by receiving welcoming tips. After the peer learning session, attendees will screen the Welcoming Story videos of Dino Koljenovic, Masuma Akter, and Yasmany Gonzalez co-produced by Ms. Mann’s Human Rights class and First Person American.
• Dino shares his story of coming to America from Montenegro in 2010. Dino talks about having the opportunity to do something his father never did, the difficulty of leaving behind his younger brother, and his love of soccer. Now as the captain of the Newcomers High School soccer team, Dino reflects on how his coach, Mr. Llull, helped him on and off the field.
• Masuma talks about leaving Bangladesh with her family when she was 15. Masuma’s initial excitement about coming to the United States was quickly replaced by fear once she realized how little she could communicate. Masuma shares her gratitude for her best friend, Anjum, who helped Masuma learn English and overcome her fears.
• Yasmany shares his story of coming to the United States from Cuba in 2008. Yasmany wild imagination allowed him to create a glamorous vision of himself in the United States. He reveals his initial disappointment about arriving in Miami. Yasmany divulges that a move to New York, and becoming best friends with two other immigrant students, Mike and Yandoli, allowed him to finally discover his American “swag”.

The Welcoming Stories Workshop is funded by the Facing History and Ourselves, Margot Stern Strom Teaching Award. Ms. Mann, the 2012 recipient of the Margot Stern Strom Teaching Award, has been a Facing History teacher for more than a decade, using the materials and pedagogies provided the organization.

Media members interested in attending the assembly please contact Newcomers High School at 718-937-6005.

Assembly details are below:
A Welcoming Assembly at Newcomers High School
When: Friday, June 1, 2012
Where: Newcomers HS Auditorium, 28-01 41 Avenue, Long Island City, NY 11101
Time: 10:50 AM – 11:50 AM

First Person American focuses on stories of modern immigrants in the US, and explores what it means to be American through the lens of the immigrant in an expressive, personal and narrative style. First Person American aims to change the public’s perception of immigrants and to interject a new voice through deep and poignant portraits of people who immigrated to America. The mission of First Person American is to have a transformative effect on individual immigrant and non-immigrant lives and communities. First Person American is a recipient of the 2010 Sappi Ideas That Matter Grant and the 2011 Design Ignites Change Grant. For more information, please visit and follow on Twitter @FPAmerican.

Newcomers High School was created to provide immigrant students with an academic program geared to achieve excellence by responding to their unique needs. In accomplishing this goal, our school has designed a rigorous instructional program, while at the same time providing our students and their parents with a supportive environment in their new country. The school serves 915 students 9-12 grade and is located in Long Island City, NY.

Julie Mann leads the Human Rights class at Newcomers High School. Students learn about human rights and how to help support these rights through their own tangible actions. Students learn about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and apply its principals to current situations. In recent years, the focus has been on human rights abuses against immigrants in the United States. Ms. Mann works in partnership with many human rights organizations such as Facing History and Ourselves, The Anti-Defamation League, Not in our Town, and most recently, First Person American. For more information, please visit and

Facing History is an international educational and professional development organization whose mission is to engage students of diverse backgrounds in an examination of racism, prejudice, and antisemitism in order to promote the development of a more humane and informed citizenry. By studying the historical development of the Holocaust and other examples of genocide and mass violence, students make the essential connection between history and the moral choices they confront in their own lives. Facing History has provided in-depth seminars for more than 29,000 educators, and its active teacher network reaches nearly two million students annually. For more information, visit and watch a video at

Media Contacts:
First Person American: Irina Lee, 347.443.8745,
Facing History: Anne Burt,
Newcomers High School: Caryn Allen, 718.937.6005, x444,


This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>