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Refugee students at Las Vegas school excelling in new environment

Posted at 5:41 AM, May 19, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-19 08:41:43-04

At the beginning of the school year, dozens of children from all over the world arrived at Snyder Elementary, barely speaking a word of English. Now they are flourishing, but it has been a long journey.

RELATED: Dozens of refugees starting school in Clark County

"It was heart wrenching because they were fearful and they were scared and they were literately crying and clinging to fences ... they had no idea what was happening and they came with nothing but the clothes on their back and plastic bags with just a few items," said school counselor Lauren Jones. 

It was more than just a language barrier. Some of the students were too scared to even eat. 

"You have to understand, a lot of these students came from war torn countries where they had food allotments that would only last for two weeks, like a pound of corn, and a pound of grain, and they would run out and they wouldn't eat for a week at a time," Jones explained.

It did take some time, but they slowly let their guard down, and once they were more comfortable, they started learning and making friends.

"I'm so happy and very, very proud because to see a child who could not even ask a teacher, please I want to go to the bathroom. Now she knows how to ask to go to the bathroom. Now she can read a sentence. Now she can speak to you," said Clark County School District interpreter Racheal Uwimana. 

"It's been a remarkable journey to watch them grow," Jones said.