Norwood Teacher Captures Students’ American Journeys in New Book


Norwood Elementary School teacher Andrea Bitner discovered so many worthwhile stories from her bilingual students, she decided to write a book, Take Me Home, writes Matteo Iadonisi for 6abc.

About 10 years ago she was a reading specialist teaching English language skills to bilingual students that came from all walks of life.

“Adopted kids, exchange students, kids that were born here, kids that have waited for those visas.”

Bitner focused on more than just language.  She helped them get driver’s licenses, apply to colleges, and more.

Then, everyone was stunned when one student, Nancy Lopez, was struck by a train and killed in 2015.

Bitner wrote a poem to eulogize Lopez, talking about her journey to America.

A strong response to the poem convinced Bitner to write the book. She interviewed 11 of her former students, now in their late 20s, early 30s, “all amazing bilingual professionals working out in the world”.

Christian Nshimiyimana, who emigrated from Rwanda, is now a Senior Accountant at La Colombe Coffee Roasters.

“15 years ago, we were just deer in the headlights,” he said. “But when folks are given the opportunity, then they can do just as good as anyone.”

Read more at 6abc Andrea Bitner’s new book, Take Me Home.