Touch of Class: Franklin Elementary fifth grade - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Touch of Class: Franklin Elementary fifth grade

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WAUSAU (WAOW) -- Think back to how scary your first day of kindergarten was.  How about your first day at a new school?  Now imagine being a fifth grader, in an American classroom for the first time. 

That's exactly what a student at Franklin Elementary is going though but his classmates are helping him transition.

Melese Klinner was recently adopted from Ethiopia by a family from Wausau.  He'd never really gone to school and came to American without knowing much English.

But in just about 3 months he's reading stories, writing poetry and doing fifth grade homework.

"I didn't know American language, Melese says. "She helped me with story writing, spelling, math as well."

School work wasn't all he had to learn though.  Melese didn't know American games or proper lunchroom etiquette and that's where his classmates stepped in.

Melese says, "The lunch card, where to take my lunch card.  Where to wash your hands and take plates and get milks.  My friends teach me."

Melese's teacher, Renee Heinrich says, "When he came, we know that we were going to have to try to teach him, as a class, how to go through a typical routine as a fifth grader in American schools."

Heinrich openly admits, having a student who speaks broken English in her class is hard.  But adds, every day with Melese is a gift.

"The best part is, is we saw that he was teaching us how important education is in our classroom.  That we take it for granted," Heinrich adds. 

But Melese doesn't take it for granted, or his class.

He says, "I say thank you for teaching me, for my new friends."

Mrs. Heinrich wanted to point out how quickly Melese understood Martin Luther King Jr. and that everyone is equal.  He wrote this poem for Martin Luther King Jr. day.

Peace is like skin

Peace looks like Martin Luther King Jr.

It sounds equal and

it can be America for all, but

peace is always right.

 

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