3rd Grade Celebrates Rad Women and Awesome Immigrants
Last Friday, Third Graders unveiled a brand new edition of Rad Women of Philadelphia, an annual celebration of women from various walks of life in Philadelphia. Each member of Anna Weisberg’s class was linked with a woman to interview, utilizing technology like Skype, and then write a short biography to be included in the final publication. Each student also contributed their own artwork, inspired by the rad woman they got to know through the project. You can read more about previous editions of Rad Women of Philadelphia here [link to: http://greenestreetfriends.org/news/rad-american-women-in-3a].
This year fellow Third Grade Teacher Carly Noorani’s class added a new addition to the anthology- Awesome Immigrants of Philadelphia. The project grew out of students’ curiosity; about their own family origins and the unique experiences and challenges of immigrant populations. Like Rad Women of Philadelphia, each student interviewed someone who immigrated to Philadelphia and researched the geography and history of each person’s country of origin. Carly and Teaching Associate Marie Hawley write in the publication’s forward, “The purpose of interviewing, writing and sharing this project through the publishing of this book was to cultivate empathy and responsibility for the community around us by better understanding the diversity of Philadelphia.”
Greene Street Friends community members know many of the individuals interviewed for this project, from Costa Rica Exchange Program Director Sandra Rodriguez (who came to America from Costa Rica) to current parent Sophon Din (originally from Cambodia). Joining the list of awesome immigrants was our own Petrit Meto, who immigrated to Philadelphia from Albania and keeps our campus beautiful. Petrit has worked at Greene Street Friends for the past eleven years and was interviewed by Eva, a Third Grader in Carly’s class. Eva says, “Petrit is really nice and fixes everything, like the window in our classroom or the drinking fountain. Not a lot of kids know much about Petrit, even though we see him every day. I wanted to learn more about him and liked learning more about his country. I made a map of Albania and drew the Albanian flag when it was time to make my pages in the book.”
Petrit has lived in Philadelphia for thirteen years and was 46 years old when he left Feir, Albania with his wife and two children. Before coming to the United States, Petrit worked for a petroleum company for thirty years, often with only one day off a week. Petrit served as a liaison between the petroleum company and the Albanian government. Petrit misses many things about Albania, including members of his immediate family, but was thankful to bring along paintings for his family’s new home in Philadelphia. When Petrit first moved here, he did not speak any English and was surprised by little things, like the difference in food and diet. He says, “It was hard for me because the food is different here. I was used to having a flea market every day and every house in Albania is a little bit of a farm. Everything was fresh. I kept 60 chickens and grew many kinds of fruits and vegetables. My wife would make fresh meals each day and we have a garden now, but it’s still not the same.”
Despite challenges, Petrit is glad that he and his family immigrated to America thirteen years ago. Petrit says, “I have visited many countries, but America is my favorite. It’s a place of great opportunity and my two children both went to school and now have good jobs here. I have two grandchildren and it’s important for them to know where they came from. We speak Albanian with them because it’s good to learn a new culture, but you need to remember too.”
We are thankful for all of the awesome immigrants in our community and the unique Light each one has inside of them to share with the whole world.