Puerto Rican kids attending Bismarck schools after hurricanes

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BISMARCK, N.D. - Out of the 254 students in the Bismarck School District’s English Learner program, 70 are from Puerto Rico. About 16 families came to North Dakota as a result of the hurricanes.

While a good portion of the displaced families have already moved back to Puerto Rico or have their bags packed, Thaibet Ramos Viruet is preparing to stay.

After Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, the Viruet family moved to Bismarck.

Seventh-grader Thaibet is a little different from her peers. She doesn't speak much English and she's a champion boxer.

“Disciplina.” Thaibet says boxing teaches her discipline, which is something she can use in her daily life.

In Spanish "Well, I stopped looking for problems at school," said Thaibet.

Although Thaibet says she prefers life back home, the 14-year-old is making the most of her time here.

“She has asked to be in some of the harder classes, and to keep doing some of the harder mathematics and some of the things that she has not been exposed to in the past,” said Rocky Metzger, English Learner teacher.

Rosaura Viruet, Thaibet's Mother said: in Spanish "She really likes math and she came home from school the other day and said, 'Mom look I got a book, which isn't a commodity over there.

“She's doing wonderfully, the other students like her. She's made a lot of friends,” said Metzger.

Thaibet communicates with her friends at school through a translator app on cell phones.

“She's been wonderful well she's very shy, so it's been a struggle for her to want to go into but she's also very brave and she works very hard,” said Metzger.

She hasn't found a boxing gym in Bismarck yet, but Thaibet does plan on playing basketball next year.

The Viruet family arrived on Dec. 28.

Rosaura says her next stop is to find a job in the area.

Although Thaibet wants to go back, her mother is considering staying permanently.