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Watauga High School

BOONE — In an effort to build community with Watauga High School ninth graders in their transition to high school, there will be a common read for all freshmen, Watauga County Schools announced June 16.

The selected book is “Refugee” by Alan Gratz, and it will be incorporated into different lessons and activities in courses across the curriculum.

Leigh Lyall, a Watauga High School counselor, said the book offers many cross-curricular applications.

“This historical and insightful novel intertwines the lives of three young refugees in different time periods and settings,” Lyall said. “Their common mission is to escape, but it is really a story about perseverance, courage and survival. The book is engaging and memorable, and it will help our students make connections to content in their freshman-level courses throughout the year.”

According to the books overview on Barnes and Noble, the book follows young children in different time periods and in different conflicts. One is a young boy in 1930s Nazi Germany with the threat of concentration camps looming. Another is a young girl in Cuba in 1994 during unrest when her family sets out on a raft. The third is a young boy in Syria in 2015 who, after their homeland is torn apart, begins a long journey to Europe with his family.

A free copy of the hardcover book — and a bookmark — is being provided to all students. Students who have not already picked up their copy should plan to get their book from their K-8 feeder school any day Monday through Thursday until July 1.

“We definitely encourage parents to read the book as well because it can lead to great discussions with your child,” the school said in a press release.

Students who did not attend one of the public Watauga County Schools can also pick up a copy of the book at Watauga High School as the school system stressed the book is for all freshmen to “read and enjoy.”

Freshman orientation will be Aug. 12 for students and parents at a scheduled time based on last name.

Last names starting with “A” through “G” will be from 8:30-10:30 a.m. on Aug. 12.

Last names starting with “H” through “O” will be from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. on Aug. 12.

Last names starting with “P” through “Z” will be from 1:30 — 3:30 p.m. on Aug. 12.

Orientation will include:

  • Opening session in the auditorium
  • Chromebook pick-up
  • Distribution of schedules and packets
  • Time to walk around, find classes, and find out (through QR codes on the teachers’ doors) what supplies will be needed in each class
  • Opportunity to meet WHS support personnel
  • Stations to find out information about some of the resources provided
  • Entertainment by groups of students

Students and parents will be expected to wear masks during orientation, the school system said.

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