Text to Speech
|Narrator||A Palestinian family has just emigrated from Palestine to the United States due to a permanent job re-assignment for the husband, who works for an American company that has an office in the Gaza Strip, a part of Palestine. They have found a place to live in the USA and have enrolled their son and daughter in eleventh grade in a local Florida high school. Thus, it is the kids’ first day of school in a new country. Fortunately, it is also the first day of a new school year, August 10, 2016, so they won’t have to start in the middle of a school year, which would only add to their already high stress levels. Mom is dropping the kids off at school. It is 7:45 a.m. on a Wednesday.
|Mom||Okay, kids. Have a good first day. I hope you make lots of new friends! Be bold!|
|Nadia||Thanks, Mom! We will.
Okay, bro’. Let’s get our book bags and head on in before the first bell rings. We don’t want to be late on our first day, do we?
|Narrator||They go into the school, stop by their assigned lockers, stow their newly bought school books there, grab just the books for their first period class, which they have together, and then head to Room 101. As they head there, they see lots of kids their age going through the same routine — putting unneeded books in lockers except for their first period books and then heading to their first classes of the day. The two enter Room 101 and are greeted by the teacher, Ms. Jameson.|
|Jameson||Hi. Welcome to American History! Just sit in any empty seat.|
|Nadia||There are a lot of empty seats at the front of the classroom. We may as well sit there. Mom did say to “be bold” after all.|
|Rashid||That she did. Okay, the front it is.|
|Narrator||At precisely 8:00 a.m., the school bell rings, signaling the start of Period 1.|
|Jameson||Welcome, students! It’s always exciting to start a new school year! Okay, first things first. This is Wednesday, August 10th, Period 1, American History class. I am Ms. Jameson. Check your class schedules and make sure you are in the right class.|
|Narrator||There is a slight commotion as students pull out and check their class schedules. A couple of students apparently discover that they are in the wrong class, roll their eyes upwards, and then get up and leave hurriedly.|
|Jameson||It never fails to happen. There are always a few students who don’t read their class schedules carefully and end up in the wrong class on the first day. (She smiles affably.) Okay, let me take roll call to make sure we’re all here.|
|Narrator||She begins reading student names one at a time from a class roster. As each student’s name is called, they answer “Here” or “Present”, and Ms. Jameson checks off their name on her roster.
|Jameson||Ah. I see we have two new students… from Palestine. Welcome to the United States, and especially welcome to Florida! We hope to learn something about your culture as the school year proceeds.|
|Nadia||Thank you, ma’am. We’re very pleased to be here, and we would be happy to share some things about our culture with you when time allows.|
|Jameson||Wonderful! Okay, students, get out your books and turn to Chapter 1. While you’re doing that, who can tell me why the early settlers left England in sailing ships to undertake dangerous journeys to come to the so-called New World to start a new life?|
|Rashid||(Thinking to himself, “Be bold, be bold.” He raises his hand in the air.)
I think I’d like to try and answer that one.
|Jameson||(She checks her seating chart she made hurriedly as she took roll call earlier.)
|Rashid||They felt persecuted because they were forced to worship a religion that they didn’t believe in. In addition, some of them wanted more personal freedoms and better opportunities than what they had in England. In short, they hoped for a better life.|
Has anyone ever heard of Plymouth Rock?
|Julie||I have! (Ms. Jameson nods her head to indicate that Julie should continue with her answer.)
It’s the landing site of one of the first successful settlements, or colonies, in the New World. This particular group of settlers were called Pilgrims. Their ship was named the Mayflower. The colony they founded in 1620 was called Plymouth Colony. A large rock at that location was named “Plymouth Rock” to memorialize that historic landing. That colony became the present-day city of Plymouth, Massachusetts.
|Narrator||Later, the school bell rings to signal the end of Period 1 and the students proceed to their next period. Finally, Period 4, lunchtime, arrives, and the students break for lunch and go to the cafeteria. Nadia and Rashid get their food from the serving line, pay at the cash register, and take their food trays to a table and sit down to eat. A couple of other students from their first period class come up to them and look at them tentatively.|
|Jim||Do you mind if we sit with you?|
|Rashid||Not at all. Please have a seat.|
|Julie||Jim and I have never met anyone from Palestine before! We’re dying to hear about your country!|
|Narrator||They begin eating and Nadia and Rashid tell Julie and Jim about the lifestyle and culture of Palestine. The two American students listen rapt with attention. Finally, the end-of-lunch bell rings and the students get up, dump their meal leftovers and trash into trash cans provided for that purpose, and head back to their lockers to get their books for their fifth and sixth period classes.|
|Nadia||Well, Rashid, that was our last class. Let’s head out to the parking lot. Mom should be waiting there to pick us up.|
|Rashid||Okay, let me get the books I need for homework. I really enjoyed the American History class! I like learning about new adventures fraught with danger.|
|Nadia||Yeah, me too. Now let’s get going.|
|Mom||Hi, kids! Well, how was your first day at school in a “strange new land”? (She smiles.)|
|Nadia||Not too bad, Mom. No one was carrying onions like we were. (She laughs.)|
|Rashid||Yeah. I didn’t hear a single explosion or hear an air raid attack all day. What a boring place Florida is! (He laughed too, very pleased that that was the case.)|