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Class looking for immigrants to share their stories

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By Courtney Llewellyn

Reminder Assistant Editor

WILBRAHAM The Multicultural Literature class at Minnechaug Regional High School is searching for a few people who can tell a story.

Wendy Keyser's class studies the immigrant experience through literature and memoir, but she is looking for members of the community willing to share their personal stories of immigration to the United States as well. She is looking specifically for people who are either new immigrants to this country or whose parents were.

Keyser, who designed the course and has been teaching it for four years, said she felt the need to expand the kind of literature students are reading. "Our nation is becoming more and more diverse," she noted.

Her class is currently reading "And the Earth Did Not Devour Him" by Tomas Rivera, a collection of stories about Mexican-American agricultural workers who were asked to come work in the U.S. during World War II.

"The stories are very compelling because of their vividness," Keyser said. "And in them, students are recognizing common human things in culture as well as the different things."

Stories on a page are different from stories from a person, however.

"It's really important to make a three-dimensional connection with real life people who have lived what we read," Keyser told Reminder Publications.

Her class of 20 students will be split up into five groups of four, and she is looking to have one person share his or her immigration story with each group. She currently has three volunteers coming in, and she is looking for two more.

Each group will be interviewing a volunteer who is willing to share his or her story, and questions will be available ahead of time. The interviews will be taking place within the next two to three weeks.

"[These interviews help students] connect with things they've read about, help them think about it in a new way," Keyser said.

Those interested in volunteering their first- or secondhand experience of immigration into America should contact Keyser through e-mail at or by calling Minnechaug at 596-9011.