Seventh Grader’s Essay Credits Her Community
Growing up in an predominately English-speaking neighborhood in the South Huntington School District, Roxanna Alvarez was quick to make friends but also quick to realize that she didn’t understand anything they were talking about. With the help of her older sister, now a senior at Walt Whitman, and her parents, who insisted she speak English, Roxanna entered preschool determined to be able to understand her neighborhood friends and do well in school. Now in the seventh grade at Stimson Middle School, Roxana has just been notified that out of 113 essays that were received from throughout New York State, her essay has been chosen as an honorary mention in the New York State Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) Student Essay Contest.
Roxana was in the sixth grade at Silas Wood when she entered the TESOL essay contest titled “How has your community helped you learn English?” She had no shortage of perfectly spoken English as she explained and gave credit to her family and her teachers for their dedication in helping her learn. “I’d look at my homework each day and say to myself, ‘OK, I know this word and this other word,’ but the older I got the harder the words became,” said Roxanna. “With the help of my family and teachers, I worked really hard. While at Silas Wood, I was asked to write about my experiences learning English, and that became my essay.” For Roxanna, reading, writing, and speaking English well will open doors she may not have had the chance to open otherwise. “I think that knowing two languages will give me double the opportunities for a good job,” explained Roxanna. “And when I get to Whitman, I want to learn a third language, and hopefully that will give me even more opportunities, both in college and after.” Congratulations, Roxanna, you’re on the right road to success.
Story and photo provided by Steve Bartholomew