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Monday, November 16, 2009

DC SCORES poets express inner feelings in Spanish

Primera Escuela

Llore, llore y llore
No sabia que hacer
No quería ir más
Las niñas no me querían
Y no hablaba ingles

Quisiera regresar a México
Y no sufrir jamás
Odio las niñas
Quisiera desaparecer
En la oscuridad
Y no regresar jamás
No puedo dejar de pensar
Los malos momentos que pase

No quiero regresar
Nunca jamás pensar malo
Y yo se que en este mundo
Yo tengo un lugar donde estar
Y no más llorar jamás

By Jenifer G.
Oyster-Adams Bilingual School
Grade 7

First School

I cried, cried, and cried
I didn’t know what to do
I didn’t want to go anymore
The girls didn’t like me
And I didn’t speak English

I wanted to go back to Mexico
And not suffer anymore
I hate the girls
I’d like to disappear
Into the darkness
And never return
I can’t stop thinking
[about] the bad times I had

I don’t want to go back
Never again think negatively
And I know that in this world
I have a place to be
And never cry again

*Jenifer’s poem was published in the November edition of DC North.
Oyster-Adams Bilingual School is participating in DC SCORES’ middle school program for the first time this year. At Oyster-Adams, all instruction is conducted in a dual-language (English and Spanish) immersion environment. The students are approximately half native English and half native Spanish speakers, which truly helps the immersion model as everyone knows something and has something to learn. 

DC SCORES is also taught in both English and Spanish, which is where the poem above came from. As shown in the English translation, the poem is about Jenifer’s difficult experience at her first school (prior to Oyster-Adams) after her family emigrated from Mexico. She didn’t speak English and didn’t feel welcome. Jenifer’s poem eloquently describes the unfortunately all-too-common pain and isolation felt by new immigrant students in the United States

Studies indicate that LEP (limited English proficiency) immigrant students are more likely to drop out of high school than non-LEP students. Additionally, in many school districts, LEP students are often taught separately from the other students in the school. This separation can often lead to social isolation and disadvantages that keep students from staying engaged in school. (Source: Ruiz-de-Velasco, Jorge, Fix, and Clewell. “Overlooked and Underserved: Immigrant Students in US Secondary Schools.” The Urban Institute, 2000.)

As I looked through the rest of Jennifer’s notebook, I found poems in both English and Spanish. While the poems in English were good, she used much richer vocabulary and imagery in her poems in Spanish.

If she was not participating in DC SCORES, would Jenifer have a place where she felt comfortable expressing her feelings about a major change in her life in writing?  Also, if she was forced to only write in English, would we have this poignant poem?

One of the best things about DC SCORES is that it gives students a voice, in whatever language they choose, to express their thoughts and feelings.  This, combined with the fact that each student becomes a member of a cohesive team in the classroom and on the soccer field, gives students like Jenifer something to look forward to in the school day. 

When a child is given a support group of coaches and peers who care about them, he or she is more likely to come to school, participate in class, and feel like he or she belongs. Whether or not he or she is an immigrant, this is a valuable experience for any child.

— Written by Cielo Contreras, Development Associate

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