Brooke Hauser follows the goings-on at International High School at Prospect Heights for a school year. International High School accepts recent immigrants with or without documentation. Their admissions requirements are that they must be recent immigrants (I want to say within a year?) and they have to take an English test and fail. It roughly follows about 10-20 students of varying nationalities and a few teachers. The year she follows is at the very beginning of the Obama administration and it’s truly heartbreaking to juxtapose the atmosphere of hope among these kids with what they must be feeling now. These kids faced truly unimaginable challenges to get here and have a better life. A girl struggled to balance high school, parenthood, and being a wife before finally making the choice to send her daughter back home to her mother to raise so that she could go to college. A boy traveled for days crammed in a suitcase soaked in his own urine to get here. Another girl arrived in the school to find not one single student or teacher who spoke her language. They crossed deserts and oceans, stowed away and left everything and everyone they knew, and got to America to be faced with astonishing challenges but also a lot of hope for becoming citizens. The gap between what kind of futures they could expect based on whether they had papers as they neared graduation was jarring. There was a lot of optimism about what changes Obama might make, and he did end up making a lot of them. International High School is still up and running, but I can only imagine the emotions students and teachers are having lately.