Friday, January 05, 2007

How do younger newcomers adjust?

Adults have lots of reasons for moving to this region – jobs, family connections, better climate and lifestyle. But their kids have no choice – and some of them arrive here from other parts of the country kicking and screaming.

At a newcomer discussion I attended yesterday, a recent arrival from Ohio said her 12-year-old son and 8-year-old daughter are having a harder time adjusting to life as a Southerner than she is.

Sometimes, her kids have trouble understanding their teachers’ strong Southern accents. Schoolmates can make them feel like outsiders. They miss friends from where they used to live.

And although this community has a strong support system for newcomers – abundant clubs, groups at houses of worship, and social events for new arrivals – few of them are targeted at kids or teens.

I’d like to know more about what life is like for newcomers under age 18, and what strategies they’ve used to adjust to life here. If you are one, or you know one, please drop me a line with contact information for a future article.


Peter Gorman, superintendent of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, is himself a newcomer from California, and he’s headlining the next “New South for the New Southerner” event at the Levine Museum on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. He’ll talk about how he’s adjusted to the community with his family, including his 8-year-old daughter Katie. (The museum event costs $4, which includes food and North Carolina wine; call 704-333-1887 ext. 501 to make a reservation).

Click here to see my newcomer report with WCNC-TV about the museum, which will air Monday at 5:25 a.m. and again during the 11 a.m. midday show.

I sat down with Gorman this week to talk about his newcomer impressions – you can see Monday’s paper and this blog to find out what he said.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your post made me remeber what my then 9 yr old son said after the first day of school in Texas after moving from Oregon...
"Mom, I have to call my teacher Maam - every time!"
And of course there was the realization that the plural of y'all was all y'all.

The move from Texas to Charlotte this summer was not nearly so culturally jarring. My son who is now 15 could have been a real stinker about the move but he has been great. I think the quick immersion into high school life and extracurricular activities was the key.

11:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I do believe Neighborhoods should be segregated by Northern neighborhood and Southern Neighborhood , that way the Schools would be a mostly Northern based school or a Southern based school; this would lower the shock and impact on People coming here from other States; Every State has its own dominate culture and Religion and they really dont mix that well. It takes years maybe generation for People to acclamate to an area. Well the DUKE Family who was in tobacco and energy they have roots from NE YORK and are Jewish backround.Yes, Mary P. Duke with her Southern accent is of Jewish Heritage. So, many that are here are from somewhere else than N.C.

9:23 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ballantyne is segregated by mostly People from other States; In fact , thats why Ballantyne was built for outsiders not rooted residents. Most of the houses in Ballantyne are paid off from skyrocketing real estate in the North and bought their land paid in full in Charlotte. I do believe when Charlotte finishes their ,22 year under taking of an outerbelt, People will see more Northern segregated neighborhoods

9:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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10:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is a batter life coming for the Southerners and many who have moved on this land; We are getting ready to Unionize most Governmnet jobs in Charlotte and will get an Automotive plant in the near future. Many Southerners will be hored first and the pay is great at $80-100,000 a year and , great 401k that yields a person up to $200,000 in 6 years, and a new car at cost , and a service repair shop for employees whil they work ; want a new engine or transaxle for your old car "no problem" the labor is free and the engine is at cost nothing more . Employees and immediate family though. Thats Honda and Toyota benefit .

10:15 AM  

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