Alabama: Immigrants Make School Rolls Larger than Town
Report; Posted on: 2006-10-01 01:55:41


Birmingham News staff writer

CROSSVILLE -- Few folks could have forecast it 10 years ago, but the enrollment at the public schools in the heart of this Sand Mountain town is now larger than the town's population of 1,440.

The word "crisol" - Spanish for melting pot - might explain it.

Nearly 1,700 students attend Crossville's elementary, junior high and high schools, about double the enrollment of 10 years ago, and the reason is the arrival of Hispanic students in the surrounding area.

A walk around and through the red-brick elementary school building, which once housed all Crossville grades and an all-white enrollment of about 800, illustrates the extent of the change.

Outside homerooms are students' names, often listed on brightly colored poster paper. There are the locally familiar Savage, Pointer, Barrett and Black, and other names that date from Crossville's origins as a farming community.

And there are names that illustrate the changing times, such as Calderon, Gutierrez and Hernandez.

On a human scale, the mingling of two cultures - one rooted in the Appalachian foothills; the other, south of the Rio Grande - has produced friendships, misunderstandings and more than a few interesting encounters.

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