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International Rescue Committee
Soccer field skirmish a lesson in democracy for immigrant students
Soccer field skirmish a lesson in democracy for immigrant students

At a recent soccer practice at Oakland International High School, the boys welcomed Paulos Gurmu, a newcomer from Ethiopia. After hours of running on asphalt under a blazing sun, they sat in a circle to dole out "positivity points." A Burmese teen who'd immigrated from a Thai refugee camp gave a point to Paulos, for "playing a lot on his first day, passing a lot." At a girls' game the next day, Fernanda Barrera, a 10th-grader from Guatemala, screamed her coaching advice to fellow players from the sidelines. "Relax, blue, and pass the ball," she yelled in stilted English, referring to her team by its shirt color. English is a new language at...

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