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Ossining HS Students Participate In Panel On Student Immigrants, Challenges

Photo Credit: File

OSSINING, N.Y. -- Ossining High School students ?Daniel Ochoa and Jenny Criollo were part of a recent student panel discussion focused on student immigrants and their challenges at the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C.

Ochoa, who is originally from Colombia, and Criollo, from Ecuador, traveled to Washington with Mirla Puello, Ossining High School’s Director of ESL, World Languages and English. The students joined others on a panel after a screening of “I Learn America,” a documentary that follows five recently arrived students during a tumultuous year at the International High School at Lafayette, a Brooklyn public high school. The students also heard from U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who introduced the film. “I Learn America” was directed by Jean-Michel Dissard, who also moderated the student panel discussion. Puello said the two Ossining students shared their own challenges and obstacles attending school in a new country and their hopes for the future.

“They all come for the same reason,” said Puello. “Opportunities.”

She said Ossining High School hopes to have a screening of the film for families in the region at the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville sometime later in the school year.

The Department of Education event, which also included panel discussions by educators and policymakers, was organized and hosted by the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics, the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, the Office of English Language Acquisition, and the Department of Justice-Equal Rights Division.

The panel discussion also was live-streamed by the U.S. Department of Education.

To learn more about the film, “I Learn America,” visit the website at

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