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Immigrant students enjoy new welcome center at Oxnard High School

Immigrant students enjoy new welcome center at Oxnard High

OXNARD, Calif. - The Oxnard Union High School District held a grand opening for a new welcome center Tuesday night.

The center is designed specifically for immigrant students in the district.

It will offer bilingual tutoring and after school help.

There is also a food pantry and a caring closet with new clothing, toiletries and school supplies that is accepting donations.

Students will be able to pick out what they want and need.

During a tour, trustee Elizabeth M. Botello pointed out a map showing the countries the students come from.

They include Mexico, the Philippines and Syria.

"In this district, in this entire county it is completely unique. It is for our newcomers from Central American from Mexico from all over the world. They are coming here to get their education, " said Botello.

Counselor Saul Anchondo has seen first-hand how students are being welcomed by other teens with the help of technology.

"I saw them befriending each other and they don't even speak the same language, but what they are doing is they are getting their phones and putting it on Google translate or these apps and they are communicating with each other," said Anchondo. "So kids that speak Arabic are teaching kids that speak Spanish their language and vice versa."

He has an office in the welcome center and is already seeing progress being made.

On the district's website it clearly states that immigrant students are guaranteed access to free public education by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Students including Melissa Sandoval spoke at the grand opening.

She said in Spanish and English, "It's a good place to meet people that have the same experience as we do, they just move here."

There are about 280 new immigrant students in the district.

Johan Diaz,18, said, "It is really hard for me but I am here I'm going to graduate next year.

The Oxnard High senior said he wants to go to Ventura College and start his own business.

Hans Silva, 17, said, "My dream is to become an engineer after high school. I want to go to Ventura College, so this is my new future."

The center is set up to help them reach their goals.

Hueneme High will be opening a similar center and the district hopes they become a model for other schools up and down the coast.

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Tracy Lehr

Tracy Lehr is a reporter and the weekend anchor of NewsChannel 3-12. To learn more about Tracy, click here

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