The Seat Beside You: The World of Lisbeth

“If our children are doing well, we see our dreams come true.”

This statement by Hilda Tema is one that rings true for many Lincoln Public Schools parents.

Hilda is a Guatemalan immigrant now living in Lincoln with her family.  She and her daughter, Lisbeth, told their story in "The World of Lisbeth", a story in the new LPS Library Services docuseries, The Seat Beside You.

The Seat Beside You is a new venture by LPS Library Services dedicated to telling the stories of LPS students and revealing worlds that may quietly exist sitting next to them in a classroom. The story of Lisbeth and Hilda explores the hard choices immigrant families have to make and why they may be forced to make them.  

When Lisbeth was an infant, she suffered a traumatic brain event that would affect her speech and learning as she grew.  Hilda could not get medical help or special education services for Lisbeth in Guatemala. They came to Lincoln when Lisbeth was in kindergarten. LPS Bilingual Liaison Marta Boucher, along with Lisbeth’s kindergarten teacher, Rachel Frank, began piecing together the services Lisbeth would need to be successful.

"The World of Lisbeth" tells the story of Hilda and Lisbeth through interviews and visits to both their home and Lisbeth's classroom.  Boucher and Frank provide insight to the story, describing the journey both Lisbeth and Hilda had to make.

Today, Lisbeth is a successful 4th grade student at Prescott Elementary School with a love of math and numbers.  Since sharing her story with The Seat Beside You, Hilda has found new employment as a custodian at Lincoln High School.  It is a position she relishes and sees as a way to give back to LPS.

“She is one of the best custodians I've had the privilege of working with. Her area is clean to a high standard, and staff have never been happier," said Devin Nielsen, Hilda's superviser. "She is upbeat, always smiling, and ready for work.”

Seeing the "The World of Lisbeth" impacted Nielsen and his team in more ways than one.  

“It changed my perception of her and myself,” said Nielsen. “I am sure appreciative of the things that I have. The problems that I may be dealing with are not as bad as [what] someone else may be dealing with.  For what her and her family have overcome and to have a great attitude like she has is inspiring.  I had my whole team watch the video, everyone's perception has changed.  She is a great mother.”  

Published: February 9, 2023, Updated: February 9, 2023