For Educators

Using the Primary Resources Associated with New Virginians

The Library of Virginia hopes that New Virginians: 1619–2019 & Beyond  can be a part of your classroom curriculum. Each interview’s page features a concise biography along with an image. These tools can help your students sharpen their analytical skills as they learn about and interpret the lives and contributions of each interviewee.

New Virginians: 1619–2019 & Beyond excerpts are also arranged thematically, with interviewees addressing their experiences with “Journey,” “Belonging,” “Challenges,” “Opportunity,” and “Virginia.”

Journey: The New Virginians reflect on their journey to Virginia.

Ahmed Aloudeh, Journey Excerpt (0:38)

Baraka Kosongo, Journey Excerpt 1 (1:02)

Baraka Kosongo, Journey Excerpt 2 (0:17)

Bol Gai Deng, Journey Excerpt 1 (2:02)

Bol Gai Deng, Journey Excerpt 2 (3:29)

Chandra Chhertie, Journey Excerpt (0:50)

Chris Little, Journey Excerpt (0:36)

Elena Zemmel, Journey Excerpt (0:44)

Farideh Goldin, Journey Excerpt (2:57)

Kika Husejnovic, Journey Excerpt (0:28)

Nhi Le, Journey Excerpt (2:49)

Patience Kamau, Journey Excerpt (0:36)

Rasheed Qambari, Journey Excerpt (2:12)

Seyoum Berhe, Journey Excerpt (0:50)

Belonging: The New Virginians reflect on how they craft a new identity as a Virginian and American while maintaining their native identity. 

Aliaa Khidr, Belonging Excerpt 1 (2:02)

Aliaa Khidr, Belonging Excerpt 2 (1:08)

Atif Qarni, Belonging Excerpt 1 (1:08)

Atif Qarni, Belonging Excerpt 1 (2:22)

Chris Little, Belonging Excerpt (4:56)

Elizabeth Guzman, Belonging Excerpt (2:30)

Farideh Goldin, Belonging Excerpt 1 (2:25)

Farideh Goldin, Belonging Excerpt 2 (2:21)

Ganna Natsag, Belonging Excerpt (3:04)

Jacques Mushagasha, Belonging Excerpt (0:51)

Jose Francisco Garcia, Belonging Excerpt (1:40)

Julia Garcia, Belonging Excerpt (1:18)

Karla Ramos, Belonging Excerpt (1:03)

Kika Husejnovic, Belonging Excerpt (0:56)

Kyung Jun, Belonging Excerpt 1 (1:28)

Kyung Jun, Belonging Excerpt 2 (2:46)

Mohammad Hassanzada, Belonging Excerpt (2:46)

Nhi Le, Belonging Excerpt (2:47)

Patience Kamau, Belonging Excerpt (2:05)

Pryalal Karmarker, Belonging Excerpt 1 (1:31)

Pryalal Karmarker, Belonging Excerpt 2 (4:16)

Sally Imram, Belonging Excerpt 1 (5:05)

Sally Imram, Belonging Excerpt 2 (0:59)

Seyoum Berhe, Belonging Excerpt 1 (1:46)

Seyoum Berhe, Belonging Excerpt 2 (1:44)

Xang Mimi Ho, Belonging Excerpt 1 (3:46)

Challenges: The New Virginians face challenges, including learning a new language and, in many cases, coping with discrimination. 

Ahmed Aloudeh, Challenges Excerpt (1:21)

Aliaa Khidr, Challenges Excerpt (1:16)

Baraka Kosongo, Challenges Excerpt (0:46)

Bol Gai Deng, Challenges Excerpt (1:06)

Cecelia Hernandez-Pena, Challenges Excerpt (1:00)

Chandra Chherti, Challenges Excerpt 1 (0:46)

Chandra Chherti, Challenges Excerpt 2 (1:56)

David Weir, Challenges Excerpt (1:14)

Elizabeth Guzman, Challenges Excerpt (0:45)

Farideh Goldin, Challenges Excerpt (2:37)

Isabel Castillo, Challenges Excerpt (1:31)

Jose Francisco Garcia, Challenges Excerpt (1:13)

Karla Ramos, Challenges Excerpt (0:34)

Patience Kamau, Challenges Excerpt (4:46)

Rasheed Qambari, Challenges Excerpt (0:57)

Sally Imran, Challenges Excerpt (2:11)

Solomon Isekeije, Challenges Excerpt (3:08)

Xang Mimi Ho, Challenges Excerpt (1:15)

Zhiyi Wang, Challenges Excerpt (2:19)

Opportunity: The New Virginians speak about the opportunities they have found in Virginia and how they give back to their communities.

Atif Qarni, Opportunity Excerpt (2:22)

Baraka Kosongo, Opportunity Excerpt (4:26)

Chandra Chherti, Opportunity Excerpt (4:25)

David Weir, Opportunity Excerpt 1 (1:54)

David Weir, Opportunity Excerpt 2 (1:57)

Elena Zemmel, Opportunity Excerpt (2:21)

Ganna Natsag, Opportunity Excerpt (1:00)

Isabel Castillo, Opportunity Excerpt (1:16)

Juan Montero, Opportunity Excerpt (3:22)

Kika Husejnovic, Opportunity Excerpt (0:51)

Patience Kamau, Opportunity Excerpt 1 (1:45)

Patience Kamau, Opportunity Excerpt 2 (1:40)

Pedro Sanchez and Loida Tema, Opportunity Excerpt (1:49)

Pedro Sanchez, Opportunity Excerpt 1 (1:57)

Pedro Sanchez, Opportunity Excerpt 2 (1:42)

Rasheed Qambari, Opportunity Excerpt (0:41)

Sally Imram, Opportunity Excerpt (2:07)

Seyoum Berhe, Opportunity Excerpt (2:12)

Solomon Isekeije, Opportunity Excerpt (3:18)

Zhiyi Wang, Opportunity Excerpt (1:14)

Elizabeth Guzman, Opportunity Excerpt (4:19)

Virginia: The New Virginians reflect on their experiences with the commonwealth of Virginia.

Atif Qarni, Virginia Excerpt (2:50)

Bol Gai Deng, Virginia Excerpt (0:53)

Cecelia Hernandez-Pena, Virginia Excerpt (0:40)

Farideh Goldin, Virginia Excerpt (0:37)

Isabel Castillo, Virginia Excerpt (0:45)

Jacques Mushagasha, Virginia Excerpt (1:”09)

Juan Montero, Virginia Excerpt (0:26)

Julia Garcia, Virginia Excerpt (0:41)

Karla Ramos, Virginia Excerpt (2:08)

Kika Husejnovic, Virginia Excerpt (0:31)

Rasheed Qambari, Virginia Excerpt (0:28)



This is a creative writing exercise for middle and high school students. It will allow them to generate questions and to conduct interviews of their classmates based on the lives of the New Virginians.

  • Virginia Standards of Learning: VS.8(b), VS.9(c), English 8.1(a-d)
  • National History Standards: Era 9 4A Grades 7–12

Prompt: Choose one of the New Virginians that you would like to learn more about. Imagine that you are going to interview this person for the local newspaper. What questions would you ask? Consider the person’s background and achievements and decide what the most relevant questions to you and your community are check out townhomes for sale san diego. Think about what people in your community would want to know about this person. After you have written down your questions, imagine that you are the person. How would you answer the interview questions?

For an additional activity, team up with a partner to take turns being the interviewee and answering each other’s interview questions.

Listening in Another Language Activity

Have your students close their eyes and listen to one or more of the following New Virginians excerpts.

Pedro Sanchez and Loida Tema, Opportunity Excerpt (1:49)

Pedro Sanchez, Opportunity Excerpt 1 (1:57)

Pedro Sanchez, Opportunity Excerpt 2 (1:42)

Ahmed Aloudeh, Challenges Excerpt (1:21)

Ahmed Aloudeh, Journey Excerpt (0:38)

Show students the interview again, allowing them to read the subtitles. Moderate/facilitate a discussion.

Sample discussion questions include:

  • How did you feel when they did not understand the language?
  • What did you want to do when you began to realize this was in a language with which you were unfamiliar?
  • Were you able to pick up on any aspect of the interview—despite not knowing the language?
  • For those who might have understood the language, how did this make you feel?
  • What was your thought about classmates who could not understand? How might you have helped them?
  • How might the teacher and the reader have helped you to understand the poem?

Ask them to consider more broadly how the feelings they experienced relate to those of new immigrants. Based on this activity, what are some of the issues immigrants face when they arrive somewhere new? S/he might be feeling like an outsider?

Have students relate their experiences to those of immigrants. Some discussion questions include:

  • What groups and individuals are treated like outsiders in America?
  • What are the possible results or consequences when people feel like outsiders in their surroundings?
  • What did you learn from this experience that might help you to better understand the feelings of outsiders in the future?
  • How might you act differently toward someone when you recognize that s/he might be feeling like an outsider?