Sullivan Boosters Creating Refugee Welcome Space, Casual Study Lounge

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When a group of Sullivan High School supporters asked what they could do to help the school, principal Chad Adams realized he could fill two needs by fixing up one room.

Over the next few weeks, a group of volunteers will pull up the carpet, paint the walls and add new furniture in the school’s library, turning it into a coffee-shop-like hang out spot for all students, as well as a unique welcoming center for Sullivan’s large refugee population.

The room will still function as a library, Adams said. But he hopes it will be a new focal point for the school, especially for new arrivals struggling to fit in.

The simple goal, Adams said, is to “make Sullivan a better place for our students.”

Backing the work is a new booster group, the Friends of Sullivan, with the help of the Rogers Park Builders group. Money is still being raised for the project. You can learn more about it, and make a donation, at the Friends of Sullivan website

“The recreating of the library is going to affect our students in a way the will feel like home,” said Sullivan teacher Sarah Quintez, who works with immigrant and refugee students.

As many as 150 of Sullivan’s 700 students are immigrants and refugees, Adams said. It’s important to make then feel welcome, and make sure they have access to support programs. The new welcome center will also be a place just for them to hang out, Adams said. He stressed, however, that the rest of the library space will be for all students.

“We are very excited about this change for our students, not just immigrant students but every one of our students,” said Adams.

Supporters are also working with a local artist to create a mural that will reflect the many different cultures at Sullivan.

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