2011 SUMMER SESSION (June 20th - July 29th)
Period /Time
(0) 8:10 - 9:00
(1) 9:05 - 10:00
French Speaking Countries (Jr)
Modern Literature (Soph)
Intro to Algebra (Fr)
Essay Writing (Sr)
(2) 10:05 - 11:00
Intermediate Comp (Jr)
Intro. to Literature (Fr)
College Math Seminar (Sr)
Intro to Chemistry (Soph)
(3) 11:05 - 12:00
Global Issues (Sr)
Intro to Geometry (Soph)
Introduction to Genetics (Fr)
Relationships (Jr)
(4) 12:05 - 12:45
Lunch – University Center 525 S. State
(5) 1:05 - 3:00
Visual Art
Intro to Film & Video
(6) 3:10 - 4:00
Field Trips: June 24: CORE Center Presentation & Museum of Science & Industry – Body Worlds
Exhibit, July 1: Visit to Marquette University, July 8: Visit to Lake Forest College & Museum of
Contemporary Art, July 14 (Thursday): Tour of Chinatown & Cirque Shanghai, July 22: Visit to St.
Joseph’s College, July 29: Afternoon Arts Festival
The Residential Week is week five (July 17 - July 22) at The University of Illinois at UrbanaChampaign. Students will live in a dormitory, attend their classes and participate in other organized
The Summer Awards Banquet is Saturday July 30th from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at a Maggiano’s (516
N. Clark). The banquet features lunch and an awards ceremony.
Stipends: $15/week. CTA Student Riding Cards are also provided.
UB Office: 218 S. Wabash, Room 718 Phone: (312) 369-8830.
Columbia College Upward Bound 2011 Summer Staff Profiles
Charles Cannon, Tutor. Candidate for BA, History & Elementary Education, Marquette Univ.
Emily Hochman, English & Social Studies Instructor. BA, English & Afro-American Studies,
University of Wisconsin, Madison. M.Ed. Secondary English, Loyola University Chicago.
Saira Haider, Tutor. BA in Physics from Knox College.
Peter Hoffman, Photography Instructor. BS, Advertising, University of Illinois at UrbanaChampaign. MA, Photography, Ohio University School of Visual Communications.
Craig Kirsch, Director (Also English Instructor). B.A., English, Grinnell College. M.A.,
English Education, The University of Chicago. M.F.A., Film & Video, Columbia College.
Alex Kuritzky, Math Instructor. BA in Mathematics from State University of New York at
Albany. MA in Secondary Education from DePaul University.
Meagan Nguyen, Tutor. BA, Psychology (Minor in Mathematics) from U. I. C.
Rebecca Provencher, Science Instructor. B.A., Chemistry, Biology & Spanish, Ripon College.
M.A. in Reading Education from Concordia University.
Mirella Rodriguez, Administrative Assistant. BA, Community Health & Wellness,
Northeastern Illinois University.
Michael Scott-Rudnick, Art Instructor. BA, Studio Art, Grinnell College. Candidate for M.
Ed, Teaching and Learning, DePaul University.
John-Ben Soileau, English Instructor. BA, Cultural Anthropology (Minor: Communications),
University of New Orleans. MA, Latin American Studies with Concentrations in Environmental
Studies and Cultural Anthropology, Tulane University.
Paris Streeter, Tutor. BA, Sociology from The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Candidate for Master’s degree in Social Service Administration, The University of Chicago.
Susan Strong-Dowd, Recruitment Coordinator (Also Human Relationships Instructor).
B.A., Theater, Columbia College Chicago. M.F.A., Fiction Writing, Columbia College Chicago.
Marie Ullrich, Film & Video Instructor. BA, Mass Communications (Film Concentration)
from Emerson College. MFA, Film & Video (Writing & Directing), Columbia College Chicago.
Kim Vachon, Music Instructor. BA, Psychology & Music Education from Lawrence Univ.
Carolle Voltaire, Counselor (Also French Instructor). B.A., Foreign Languages, St. Xavier
College. M.S.Ed., Education, Northern Illinois University. PhD in Higher Education &
Organizational Change from Benedictine University.
David Yontz, Tutor. BA, English from The College of Wooster.
Omaris Zamora, Tutor. BA in Latin American Studies and Romance Languages from The
University of Chicago.
Upward Bound is a federally funded program designed to help
students with limited financial resources prepare for college.
Any student (Grades 8-11) who
1. Attends or will attend Benito Juarez or Foreman.
2. Has the Desire & Commitment to pursue a college degree.
3. Meets the Department of Education’s requirements.
Saturday Classes
Field Trips & College Visits
ACT Test
A Monthly Stipend
Summer Internships
A Summer Program
Career Exploration
College & Financial
Aid Application
Obtain application materials from program staff, target school
representatives, or community agencies. Return the completed
materials in person to a target school representative, Upward
Bound staff or mail them to the address listed below.
Mailing Address
Columbia College Upward Bound
600 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60605
Office Location
218 S. Wabash
Suite 718
The Columbia College Chicago Upward Bound Program is currently 93%
funded by United States Department of Education receiving $347,834
annually. Additional funding for the program is provided by Columbia
College Chicago ($28,000 or 7%).
Zulma Garrido Self Portrait (Visual Art Class)
“Imagination” by Ricardo Rangel (Modern Literature Journal #6)
This story does not start like, “In a land far, far away…”. It actually takes place
in an ordinary city, Chicago. Well, for this one child, Chicago isn’t an ordinary place, it’s
a hell hole. His name is Cecilio and he was born in a low-class family. He was barely
beginning his eighth grade year when he moved from Italy into Chi-town. At school,
everyone made fun of him because of his accent and his raggedy clothes. His only friends
were colored pencils. Cecilio loved colors and whenever and wherever he could he would
draw and draw until he finished coloring a whole wall. His room was covered in different
colors and figures. Many of the teachers didn’t like him because he even drew on his
desk and on all his tests. No one at school talked to him they just looked at him with
disgusted faces, as if he was right next to a garbage truck.
One day Cecilio was drawing a superhero on his locker, but he was interrupted by
a gang of boys that surrounded him. He didn’t care, he was used to threats against him, so
he continued drawing. When he was done he was about to leave, but a boy about two
heads taller than him pushed him back. The boy said, “Where you going ese? We gotta
bone to pick with you. Quit writing on everything, ‘cuz the world isn’t your playground.
You and your family are pieces of trash and you know what we do with trash? We beat it
up and throw it out.”Cecilio didn’t like people talking about his family that way and he
got enraged. No one made fun of his family and if they did he would rain hell on them.
He was so mad that the drawing was peeling off the wall. Wait! It wasn’t peeling off it
was coming to life! His emotions were radiating all over the hallway. The superhero took
the power from Cecilio’s emotions and released it on the group of boys. They went flying
to the other side of the corridor and smacked right into the wall. They were out cold, but
the superhero wanted to finish them off since he was filled with rage, but Cecilio
controlled his emotions and the superhero vanished like mist.
After that incident Cecilio knew that he could do whatever he wanted and no one
could stop him. Everyone started to respect him and fear him. One quick question,
though, is it better to be loved or feared?
Anyways, Cecilio was drawing a monster on a wall when another big bully came
up to him and told him to stop. Cecilio was enraged that someone would try and end his
reign of terror and demise. Again the drawing came to life and was filled with rage,
hatred and terror. Cecilio ordered the monster to stop, but even by controlling his
emotions he couldn’t stop the horrible beast. The raging monster destroyed buildings and
everything it touched became a pile of rubble and debris. The bully was eaten by the
monster and no one could stop it. Cecilio drew warriors and varieties of soldiers to try
and destroy the monster, but they all went down like the bully. His imagination was worn
out and Cecilio didn’t know what to do.
Finally Cecilio thought of one thing, but it would bring death to knock on his
door. His plan only involved him and the monster. Cecilio stood right in front of the
monster and asked him to stop, but the monster kept on charging until it stopped right in
front of Cecilio and then, it ate him. That was a bad choice for the monster because he ate
his creator, it could no longer live. Both Cecilio and the monster were gone. Cecilio gave
up his life to finish off what he had started. When the people of Chicago made his grave
they put on his gravestone, “Don’t take anything for granted”. The End
“The Last Little Pig” by Nancy Galan (Modern Literature)
I am the last pig of the three little pigs and I am the smartest because I knew how to
build my house so it wouldn't fall. I could have helped my brothers, but they wouldn't listen
to me and the wolf killed my two brothers. When the wolf killed my two brothers, I swore I
would take revenge and I would kill the wolf. Of course I didn't stop to think that maybe it
was all an accident and that the wolf didn't want to kill my brothers. I was so mad; I wanted
to make the wolf mad. At first I was so mad I didn't want to talk with the wolf to understand
what really happened. Maybe the wolf only wanted a cup of sugar and both little pigs were so
rude that the wolf could have got mad and that's why he blew down both houses. Or maybe
the wolf wanted a cup of sugar to make a cake for his granny's birthday but he had a terrible
cold. When he went to both little pigs houses he sneezed so much he blew the two houses.
Maybe I was only mad with the wolf because he didn't consider twice if he should eat both
pigs or not. I, being the smart pig, I should know that before taking my revenge I should talk
to the wolf and see what happened. Maybe the wolf was guilty of everything and he did do it
on purpose because he wanted to eat my two brothers. I did consider this and so I went to talk
with the wolf. When I asked the wolf to tell me what really happened the wolf answered that
it was all a mistake because he had a terrible cold and he sneezed so much that he blew down
the pigs’ houses. He was only guilty of eating them. Also he said that everyone thinks he's
mean and that he would kill only because he wanted to - just because he is a wolf. But all of
this wasn't true, he was a sweet wolf who baked a birthday cake for his granny because he
loved her so much and he cared for her a lot. With all this that the wolf said I knew I was
wrong at wanting to kill the wolf in revenge. I felt sad that I even thought he was a bad wolf
who would kill anyone. I was still sad because both my brothers were dead, but I was glad
that the bad wolf wasn't a bad wolf after all and he wasn't going to eat me. I may have lost my
brothers, but I gained a new friend who would defend me from the real bad wolves.
Elize Dominguez: Charles
Erica Roman: Nicole
Mariana Chavez: Charlotte
Charles: Salut!
Nicole: Salut!
Charlotte: Salut!
Charles: Ça va?
Nicole: Ça va tres bien.
Charlotte: Ça va bien, et toi Charles?
Charles: Ça va bien. Est ce que tu parles français Nicole?
Nicole: Je ne parle pas français. Et toi?
Charles: Je ne parle pas français. Et toi Charlotte?
Charlotte: Je parle fran¢ais, mais je ne parle pas très bien. Quel est ton anniversaire de
naissane, Nicole?
Nicole: Mon anniversaire est le six mars. Et toi Charlotte?
Charlotte: Mon anniversaire est le vingt-huit juin. Et toi Charles?
Charles: Mon anniversaire est le neuf mai. Quell heure est-il?
Nicole: Il est quinze heures.
Charlotte: Au revoir.
Nicole: Au revoir.
Charles: Au revoir.
Daniel Diaz: Raoul
Jeremiah Natano: Jean-Paul
Raoul: Bonjour!
Jean-Paul: Bonjour!
Raoul: Je m’appelle Raoul. Et toi? Comment t’appelles tu?
Jean-Paul: Enchanté! Je m’appelle Jean-Paul. Ça va?
Raoul: Ça va bien! Et toi?
Jean-Paul: Ça va bien aussi.
Raoul: Quelle heure est-t-il?
Jean-Paul: Il est huit heures vingt du matin. Pourquoi?
Raoul: J’ai rendez-vous avec ma soeur à dix heures.
Jean-Paul: Vraiment?
Raoul: Oui!
Jean-Paul: Quelle temps fait-il?
Raoul: Il fait froid.
Jean-Paul: ZUT!
Raoul: Au revoir Jean-Paul!
Jean-Paul: Au revoir Raoul!
Maria Cortez: Marie Cristina Lopez: Isabelle Marie: Salut! Isabelle: Salut! Marie: Ça va? Isabelle: Ça va commeci commesa. Marie: Pourquoi? Isabelle: Je ne sais pas. Marie: D'accord. Isabelle: Un café, s'il vous plaît. Le Garçon: Oui, Mademoiselle. Marie: Un chocolat, s'il vous plaît. Le Garçon: Oui, Mademoiselle. Isabelle: Qu'est-­‐cequi passe? Marie: J'ai rendez-­‐vous avec Joe. Isabelle: Oh là là! Marie: Quelle heure est-­‐il? Isabelle: Il est trois heures de l'après-­‐midi. Marie: Trois heures? Isabelle: Oui, trois heures. Pourquoi? Marie: J'ai rendez-­‐vous avec Sophie... Isabelle: A quelle heure? Marie: A trois heures cinq. Isabelle: C' est dommage! Marie: Au revoir, Isabelle! Isabelle: Au revoir, Marie! Yesenia Villanueva : Emilie Martika Tapia: Sophie Émilie : Bonjour ! Sophie : Bonjour ! Comment vas-­‐tu ? Émilie : Ça va, bien. Et toi ? Sophie : Ça va comme ci, comme ça. Émilie : Pourquoi ? Sophie : Il fait chaud. Je n’aime pas la température. Émilie : Je n’aime pas la température aussi. Sophie : Quelle coïncidence ! Quelle heure est-­‐il ? Émilie : Il est cinq heures et demie. Pourquoi ? Sophie : J’ai rendez-­‐vous avec James. Émilie : À quelle heure ? Sophie : À six heures et demie. Émilie : Oh là là ! Vous avez le temps. Sophie : Non, désolé, je dois y aller maintenant. Émilie : D’accord, au voir Sophie. Sophie : Au voir Émilie. Denise Arevalo : Denise Leslie Peralta : Elizabeth Elizabeth: Salut! Denise: Salut! Elizabeth: Je m’appelle Elizabeth. Et toi, comment t’appelles tu? Denise: Je m’appelle Denise. Elizabeth: Ça va? Denise: Ça va bien. Elizabeth: Je joue au football. Et toi ? Denise: Non je ne joue pas au football. Elizabeth: C’est dommage ! Quel est ton anniversaire de naissance? Denise: Mon anniversaire est le 12 avril. Et toi ? Elizabeth: Mon anniversaire est le 16 mai. Quelle heure est-­‐il? Denise: Il est quatre heures dix. Pourquoi? Elizabeth: J’ai rendez-­‐ vous avec Camila. Denise: A quelle heure? Elizabeth: A quatre heures. Et Camila est ponctuelle et très impatiente. Denise: Oh là là! Elizabeth: Au revoir, Denise. Denise: Au revoir, Elizabeth. FROM THE GLOBAL ISSUES CLASS
Angelo Hudson (Global Issues – Journal Response)
As humans we are all affected by what happens in the world. Everyone has the
ability to think, we all have opinions so when something happens in the world it should
affect you. We can all feel sympathy and can all empathize with others. When you watch
the news, read a newspaper, or however you get your news, you should be able to realize
what is going on and understand why it is happening. What is happening in the world is
important because whatever happens to someone it could just as easily have been you.
That person is a human just as you are and they potentially can change the way you act
and things you think, just as you could do for them.
Lekora Ross (Global Issues)
When I’m at my going away party or trunk party….
I see my majorette coaches from school telling me to stop being so nervous, be a
leader. I see my dad telling me to go all the way, don’t give up. I see my two sisters
smiling, my niece crying -- she always cries when I leave. I see my mom crying tears of
joy. I see my friend Ebony there by my side in the future, going to college with me,
talking my ear off like she usually does. I see me at my birthday party when I was little,
excited because the Power Puff Girls were there, I use to love that show!
Jamelia Jones
What I Will Carry to College
When students head to college they usually bring tangible items that eventually
get worn out, but they will always forget to tag along the intangible. For my college
experience I will make sure I bring both intangible and tangible items with me for my
journey. Memories, motivation, and my identity are things I cherish and what make me
who I am as of today. So how can I forget to bring them along my four year road trip to
Intangible items are special to me because they never get damaged or disappear
throughout your life, such as memories. Having memories can have a good and bad effect
on college students, but mine in particular are the memories of my step-dad.
Remembering his courage, how he believed in me and the love he showed, me is
unforgettable. Memories of how he always told me I made him so proud, that he will
always be there to give me faith, and I am the daughter he never had bring me joy. I will
always remember him telling me, “Daughter it doesn’t matters what happens, just make
sure you go to college.” Those moments will always remain in my heart and keep me
pushing when life seems upside down.
Bringing motivation within me will make me a believer and not give up on school
or myself. I gain this by looking at my mother, aunts, and grandma by seeing them as
powerful black woman who never gave up. Having this desire will help me remain
focused because there is always a distraction on your road to success and having your
own motivation will help you achieve.
There are many stories about college life or how the journey ended or began, but
from hearing them all you will always need your identity. What is life without it? I will
say my identity is ambitious, curious, and trustworthy. Having your identity can guide
you to the right friends, to the right path, and being a leader. Knowing what’s right for
you, loving yourself for who you are can show beautiful end results throughout the
college experience.
Having items that you can’t touch and never go away is great but having items
you can cherish and hold is even better. Especially when you receive a gift that is fluffy
and comes past your knees, from someone special is an item I will bring to my new
home. Not able to hold my teddy bear throughout my college experience will be so
depressing because my teddy bear has been there through all my obstacles. When I had
family problems, heartbreaks, and disappointments, my teddy bear Cinnamon was there
for me. He helped me overcome pain and fear by letting go tears and stress without being
judged or hearing complain. He is always there for me to hold when it is bad or good
nights, and sad or happy days. My teddy bear Cinnamon is my healer.
Being able to look beautiful with or without make-up is one of the beauties of
being a woman. Make-up will help me feel better about myself when I am feeling unlike
myself about studies, or personal needs, I will hide the pain. When I have stressful days,
wearing make-up always helps me cover the pain and make my life seem better. But my
days always have sunshine when I am able to listen to my music. Hearing jazz, hip hop,
and classic music blast through my ears make me feel at ease. Music is the healer of my
mind and soul so bringing my iPod to college will really help. I am positive that my
music will help me have a successful year as a freshman in college.
Having the ability to bring intangible and tangible items along with you for work,
college, or even a trip can help you as a person because you will want the best for you
and your future. I have less than a year to go on my college journey and I know I will go
through good and bad obstacles without having family or friends. But If I believe in
myself and carry memories, motivation, makeup, my identity, music and my lovely teddy
bear Cinnamon, I know my journey will be a road to success.
My Rainy River by Jesus Remigio (Global Issues)
Once in an old rickety boat, there I was...
With this fictional decision I would never make…
I would be confronted by people who somehow managed to leak into my decision
making time. I would first see my family; brother and sister, mother and father with a
look saying, “go for it.” Next, I run into my grandparents waving, whispering, “come
home so we can eat!” Next I float into my friends, Adrian saying something smart and
wise, and Zulma being Zulma, Arley being a goofball telling me not to go. Luis with a
big’ol’ grin standing there, stuffing his book bag full of food. And my last and best friend
Lez-lee Alien Perez, standing there saying that she can’t take over the world on her own.
My villain comrades will be there. Dr. Viktor Vaughn Doom, M.O.D.O.K, Dr. Octopus,
Venom, Sabertooth, Magneto, Mafisto, Galactus, Mysterio, and many other evil
Poems by Yesenia Villanueva “Quiet” Can she talk? What does she sound like? Is she mute? I would always hear these questions. I was never really a talker. Always been a shy person, But I can talk, laugh and make noises. I’m not mute! Then some would ask me, “Why are you so quiet?” I wouldn’t answer it. I would just walk away. “Secret” I’m going to tell you something, Something that no one else knows, So “Don’t Tell Anyone!” It can ruin a friendship, It can hurt someone’s feelings, But only if you were to break its meaning. Trust me; I’m sure you have one, Everyone has at least one, Whether it’s true or not. It can haunt you for life, But I can’t tell you, Because it’s a secret that I’ll NEVER give away. Leslie Peralta (My Childhood Memory)
I remember it like it was just yesterday. Everyday in summer I would walk to my
cousins Daisy and Dennis’ house just two blocks away from my house. We would have
such fun back when we were just 9 years old. The day I really won’t forget is the day we
decided to play 10 things before the day ended.
It was a Friday and the minute I got there we started playing, we could play for
hours. We could feel the heat so bad that we stopped playing and decided to go inside for
some fresh A/C air. We got some really cold water and popsicles. We decided to play in
the playroom, it was full of toys. We wanted to play secretary and spies and teacher at the
same time. Each person would play 3 characters. I would be the teacher and one spy and
the boss. Daisy would be a student, another spy, and the secretary. Dennis would play the
person that comes to the office, a student and the spy’s boss that told them their mission.
We played it for hours and hours just going along like if we were really acting out
a play from “Spy Kids.” At that time that was a real popular movie. We would sometimes
get mad because somebody didn’t do it right. After a while, we could smell and almost
taste my aunt’s cooking from the other side of the house. Her usual was always tacos
dorado’s con queso, crema, luchuga, tomate, y aguagate. The smells were so good we
would forget we were fighting and go into the kitchen and eat.
We would sit down and start talking about how we ended it up fighting and how
much fun we were having. Until we heard a knock on the door and it was my mom
saying it was time to go home. I wouldn’t cry or anything because I knew if I did my
mom wouldn’t let me come the next day. So I just said bye to Dennis and Daisy and
thank you to my aunt and uncle for having me over to their house. Having to play all 10
games in one day was the most unforgettable thing I ever did as a child.
Photograph by Ephraim Natano (UB Photography Class, Summer 2011
A Day in the Train by Denise Arevalo
Once waiting for the windy city train
I noticed two pairs of eyes gazing
straight in my direction, laughter
came from those strangers
I was not caring of what I had heard the way they said look
At that “illegal alien” and every time
I stand waiting for the train
I remember how those strangers
made me feel so different.
Childhood Memory by Maria Cortez
I could remember my little niece, Karen, rushing towards me and said,
“Carmen let’s play.”
“What do you want to play?” I said tiredly.
“Little School,” she said.
“Alright” I said with no hesitation.
For as long as I remember, I think that I have been playing this game. An
estimate of eight years or so. Ever since my nieces and nephews and I had
summer vacation, we started to play each day “Little School” at 9:00 a.m. ‘till 1:00
p.m.; with me being the teacher and my nieces and nephews being the students.
It grew fun as I started to get new students, because now I have five nieces and
two nephews. I would start off with some basic grammar and punctuation in
sentences that would lead to writing. After 30 minutes of this, I would shift to
Reading for 20 minutes along with a short summary. Then we went to the fun
stuff, math! I was so crazy for math that they would sometimes get frustrated at
me for so many problems that I would write on the board. Science was not my
favorite, so I would barely “teach” it. And the last fun part of the day was Arts and
I remember when I used to beg my mother, when we went to the store, to
buy me lots of Arts and Crafts activities and she would sometimes get mad, but
she never denied me. The funny thing was that I never had an actual board.
Instead I would use the glass from an old shelf and covered the back with white
paper and wrote at the front of the glass. We ate lunch at noon and lastly FREE
But before I would let them out, I surely gave them a load of homework! I
am pretty sure that they hated me when I gave them a lot of homework, but it
came in handy. Sometimes when they did not do their homework I would give
them extra work or not give them candy. I am pretty proud of myself for giving
them the opportunity to learn more from me and me learning from them. I actually
did see progress in their work. At the time, I had 1st graders to 5th graders. I knew
that I wanted them to have the best education they could get and with a little help
from me would help them a lot. All of them didn’t know how to multiply, nor had
good grammar. Before I knew it, they knew it in a blink of an eye.
When I was their age I struggled trying to learn. Especially since my
brothers were busy with their own things and I was off alone with my mother. She
did not know much, but I knew that she did the best she could and I am thankful
for that. Overall, I can say that I was somewhat harsh on them and I still am, but I
think that it is a good way to prepare them for the future. And I am glad that they
still want to continue playing this game, even though they are kind of grown. I just
know that my childhood was pretty exciting for me because it lead me to my
future career, in which I am striving for. And hopefully I get to be a great teacher.
My Favorite Childhood Memory
by Mariana Chavez
Out of all the wonderful things that happened in my childhood, getting my dog as a
birthday present was definitely the best. It was a typical night a few days before my
birthday, breezy but warm, and my mom and I were sitting out on the patio. We heard the
doorbell ring, but it was such a beautiful night that I didn’t want to get up so I let my
mom get it. When she came back my half sister and her husband came in with a puppy
only a month and a half old. They both knew how much I loved chocolate Labradors and
that’s exactly what he was. He had a foul smell but he was beautiful. I loved him
instantly and I knew how nervous he was because he wouldn’t stop shaking and trying to
lick my face. My sister and I looked up names on the Internet and finally found one we
liked, Meeko. It didn’t really have a meaning, but we liked how it sounded and how
uncommon it was. The typical night had become one of the best in my life. He had to
sleep with me that night because he wouldn’t stop crying in his cage. I loved that he made
me feel like I was protecting him and like he needed me. Five years later he’s still one of
the best things that has ever happened to me. I feel like a mother to him because of how
he always follows me around and how I’m the one who takes care of him. He’s always
been worth the hassle it is to clean up after him and be taking care of him. He’s the only
one who is still more excited than ever to see me come home from school every day even
if it’s been the same thing day after day. His love is entirely unconditionally and there’s
nothing like a dogs love, or like the love and wonderful memory I will always have of
Nancy Galan Self Portrait (Visual Art Class)
Cristina Lopez (Childhood Memory)
My happiest moment from my childhood would be when all the family hangs out
together. It was mostly on Fridays and all the family would come to my grandma’s house.
My uncles and aunts will visit them and bring their children. So it started around 6-7 pm,
we would all come the apartment and we first say hi to my grandparents first. We kissed
them and then said hello to everyone. Then we all started to talk to each other and there
were so many conversations. The adults would mostly be in the kitchen and the children
would be in the living room. The teens under 18 would be in the living and the ones
older would go to the kitchen. We would all talk about our week and how was school and
if everything was ok. We would all tell jokes and play around. At that time I was around
10-12 years old and most of my cousins were under 18. It was so much fun we would
play cops and robbers. Even when my grandma would tell us to stop running, we would
get hurt, we would stop and then in a little while go back to running.
Then when we did not like grandma’s food we would tell the little’s cousin to go
in the kitchen and say “I want pizza”. It sometimes worked and we got pizza other times
it didn’t, but it was ok. We only ordered from one place called Benny’s because that’s the
only pizza my grandma liked, and we liked it too, it was so good. We would stay there in
till 11-12 pm and just talk and play around.
One Friday, everyone came no one missed, and the house was so crowned. My
cousins and I were thinking of what to do, since it was a nice day outside we wanted to
go outside. We asked our parents and they said ok but come back when it get dark. So we
all went to the backyard and when we left the apartment it was so empty. All my cousins
ran outside and we made a circle. We were deciding what to play; we said we should play
freeze tag. We all said not it and only one left who did not said it was my cousin Vero, so
she was it. We were all running around and it was so much fun, the only problem we had
was that there was a pool in the backyard so we had to be careful not to fall in the pool.
We were having so much fun and I was running when I heard someone cry and I turned
around and saw all my cousins run to the pool. I knew we were all going to be in trouble.
I walked up there and saw my cousin Vero lying in the pool. Some of my older cousins
jumped in and helped her up. Someone went to the adults and told them what happen.
They came down and they checked if my cousin were ok, she was ok. They were yelling
at some of the teens that why we were not more careful, I was glad I was kind of small
so no one yell at me. Everything was fine and now the adults were worried every time we
went outside. So they said they were going to fill in the pool, I was so sad, I loved that
pool. It was so much fun and I had good times there. The adults did fill in the pool so that
was the end of that.
It was great times we had, but it stopped because people stopped going. All my
cousins got older and had other things to do, my uncles and aunts still come but it’s not
the same. I still come every Friday with my sister and brothers and some of the younger
cousins. When I sit in the sofa I remember the old time and how there was so much noise.
If we are lucky, one Friday everyone would go and my childhood come back to life but
that does not really happen a lot.
Listening Log Entry by Kenneth Brito on 7/6/11
Reflecting on: Redemption Song by Bob Marley
“Emancipate yourself from mental slavery, none but ourselves can free our minds.”
These are my favorite lines of this song. It makes me feel good to know that there are
liberal thinkers who express their ideas of politics through music. As a liberal person, I
really admire music that can touch the soul. Music like this makes you feel like
everybody can get together and be friends with each other.
Weekly Reflection by Ricardo Rangel on 7/21/11
Written as a reflection on Residential Week
During this summer, I have learned about teamwork and how it’s necessary in every type
of music. Everyone needs to learn how to work together because you can’t do anything
alone. You need support from your friends and even sometimes strangers. I also learned
about leadership and how to help your friends and schoolmates. To be a leader, you need
Genetic Story by Edith Rojas
There are two silly sally geese parents that want to have children. Most of them
in the family are either orange and make deep honking noises, or green and make high
pitch noises. Both parents want to have a baby that has green feathers and makes a deep
honking noise. The father is green and makes a deep honking noise. The mother is
orange and makes a high pitch noise. Both parents are afraid that their baby won’t come
out green and make a deep honking noise. They want to know what are the chances if
any, they will have this offspring.
Mr. Glogenhim is the one in charge of helping these desperate parents with their
issue. He figured out that green is dominate over orange; and that deep honking noises
are dominant over high pitch.
Genetic Story by Gaby Mejia
In a dog land, far, far away lives a large amount of dogs. Most of these dogs have
black fur and sharp teeth, but these past few years, puppies have been born with brown
fur and blunt teeth.
Well in this dog land, a female dog, and a male dog are planning on having a
baby, but they are concerned because they don’t want a baby puppy with brown fur and
blunt teeth. They don’t think it will be easy for them to feed him having blunt teeth.
So this couple decided to have a talk with someone who can help them solve this
problem (YOU!) and of course Dr. Mendel.
Dr. Mendel figured out that black fur and sharp teeth are dominant.
Genetic Story by Chantel Silva
Alien City
Once upon a time, there was a city in Mars. The city was named Alien City. In
that city, there were aliens with three fingers and one eye. The mayor of the city noticed
that the children were being born with two eyes and four fingers. He wanted to know
why children were being born that way and if his children with his wife will be born like
normal Aliens, or like the baby’s who are being born with two eyes and four fingers. The
mayor asked Genetics Experts, Mr. Mendel, and you for help to find why they are being
born like that.
Mr. Mendel thinks that one eyed and three fingers are dominant over the two eyed
and three fingers because only some children are being born like that, while others are
heterozygous for both traits.
Genetic Story by Arturo Villalobos
In a far away land (which is closer than you think!) there live a town full of
cyclops. Most of them are tall and strong but in the last generation some have been short
of weak. This concerns a pair of cyclops in particular because a war might come and if it
does come they want their child to survive. They want to know what are chances the
child will be strong.
The couple have decided to have a meeting with some old friends and some
neighborhood doctors. These old friends are Mr. Mendel and of course you. You go
right away to work after they have explained their situation.
Genetic Story by Vanessa Beltran
Unicorns in the Wild
In a land far away there lived many families of unicorns. The strongest unicorns
were the ones with long legs and long horns. One time there was a unicorn named Lola
and her husband Mark wanted to have an offspring with both traits to be dominant
instead of short horn and short legs because then it wouldn’t be able to run as fast as
others, or reach tall places. Lola was heterozygous for the height of the legs and
heterozygous for the height of the horns. Mark has a short horn and legs.
Then Lola and Mark went to a meeting with Mr. Mendel and genetic doctors and
you to help them solve the situation.
Genetic Story by Ashlie Mari Cruz
The Rich Ones!
In a land near Chicago called Ice land there lived many rich people. But there
was this one family who were the richest people of Ice land. They wanted to have four
kids plus the two they already had. The mother was tall with blue eyes and a bad attitude.
The father was tall also with brown eyes and a kind hearted attitude. The mother wanted
her four kids to have brown eyes with a bad attitude but the father disagreed and said the
kids will have one of your gene and one of mine. So since they were arguing they came
up with a plan to go get it researched by scientist.
The rich people need your help along with the scientist help to figure out how
there four children might turn out.
The scientist looked at the family and the two kids they already had. He noticed
that both the kids have blue eyes and a bad attitude. So he figured both blue and bad
attitude is dominant. So that means the kids take over from there moms traits.
Genetic Story by Mireya Rosas
Water Dragons
Far, far away where there was a waterfall around trees, there were water dragons.
Most of the dragons have three heads and wings. But now the past few generation,
several of water dragons have had one head or no wings. They think three heads with
wing are better to their village because one head or no wings do not have what it takes to
be a true dragon. Some of the dragons with three heads and wings are wondering if they
will have more one head or no wings offspring in their village.
They are looking for earth dragons and humans like you that might help them
with this problem.
One of the earth dragons found out that the three heads and wings traits are both
dominant because they are the traits that are most common. They write it down with
their claws.
Vanessa Beltran (Double Helix Book Response)
Interview with Eli Samuels Q: Why did you want to become a scientist? A: I wanted to become a scientist because if I had H.D. disease I could find a way to stop it or cure it. This could help me and many others. Q: Why didn’t you like to visit your mom? A: I didn’t like to visit my mom because it would make me see how it might be for me if I have gotten the disease. Q: Why didn’t you want to tell Viv about your mother? A: I didn’t want to tell Viv about my mother because I didn’t want her to feel sorry for me, I also didn’t want her to stay with me if I have gotten the disease later on. Q: Why did you decide to tell Kayla about your mom right away? A: I told Kayla about my mother right away because I didn’t want the whole situation that happened with Viv to re-­‐write itself. Q: How did you feel when you found out that Kayla might be your step-­‐sister? A: I felt betrayed, why didn’t my father or Dr. Wyatt tell me anything sooner they were treating me like a kid that couldn’t handle the truth. Q: How did it make you feel when your mom tried to make a child without the disease? A: It made me feel like she cared she tried to do something about it. Q: Now that you know that you don’t have the disease what are you going to do? A: I’m try to move on and make my life with Viv and keep on working of becoming a scientist. Edith Rojas (Double Helix Book Response) If I could add another character, I would add Kayla’s birth mother because it would make it a little more interesting to see/figure out if Kayla and Eli are truly related. I would probably make Kayla’s birth mother come out in the part where Eli starts to wonder if Kayla and him are truly related. Or maybe in the part where Dr. Wyatt is explain how Kayla was created. When Dr. Wyatt started to explain that he used Eli’s mother’s egg and used other people’s genetic material (Kayla’s athletic abilities, or how beautiful she is). When I was reading the novel I started to really wonder how Kayla’s birth mother looked, or how her personality is. I also wonder why did Kayla’s mother want a fertilized egg that may have a baby with HD. This is why I think Kayla’s mother should’ve been in the story. Juan Vargas (Summary of Blog Entry)
Element 51 Antimony Antimony is a unique element that another elements can’t compare to. Many alchemists humanized elements, sticking human characteristics. They looked at antimony as ladylike. Its symbol means female. Some of the uses of antimony are varied. An Egyptian woman used a form of antimony as eyeliner. They even made it into a form of medicine in the 1700s. It
was used for laxatives, which would help your digestive system release waste easier. Even though antimony was used for medicine, it was bad to use constantly because of its unsustainable poison. Mozart was a hypochondriac, and he died from taking too much antimony medicine. Finally around the 20th century, doctors had officially named antimony as a dangerous element. Still, China and Guizhou continued to use antimony for coins. It wasn’t a good resource for making coins, so the Guizhou discontinued the coins. Ricardo Rangel (Summary of Blog Entry)
“Rare Earths: They’re Neither Rare nor Earths, But They Could Save the Planet” This article talks about the rare earths which are the two rows hanging in space beneath the periodic table. They put them out because if they put them in then the table would be too long and narrow for printers and papers. The rare earths are actually not rare. Some are as common as copper and most of them aren’t of Earth’s as in from soil, which they have oxygen. Many of these rare earths can be used for fuel and electricitys but many are hard to get a hold of so many aren’t used for it. Scientists have the whole periodic table to work with in the future, so they have plenty of time. Nancy Galan (Summary of Blog Entry)
“Antimony: It might have killed Mozart” This article was about the element antimony. Antimony was discovered by a merchant named Johann Tholde. He believed that he had found a book about antimony. As time passed it seemed that the book was a fraud, but that didn’t stop Isaac Newton who became obsessed with antimony. When Newton failed the element remained popular and the alchemists saw antimony as the essence of femininity. The Egyptian women used a form of antimony called stibium as eyeliner, that is why the symbol for antimony became Sb. The element became more popular when they started using it as a laxative. This laxative was poisonous doctors declared antimony as dangerous. There is some speculation that maybe Mozart died because he took a lot of antimony as medicine for fevers and internal aches. Antimony is now used in matches, added to plastic to make credit cards, make waste water pipes, and also used in electrical insulation. Jacquelin Padilla (Summary of Blog Entry)
“Nitrogen and Phosphorus: The Future of Toilet Design Hangs in the Balance” In the article I read, I learned that fertilizers are used in order to help plants grow by delivering nitrogen, and other elements such as phosphorus. Farmers used urine and waste for fertilization. One fundamental law of matter believes that you cannot use up elements like nitrogen, which are conserved. Therefore, an atom of nitrogen can never disappear. Also, nitrogen is in the air, and a percentage of 4 out of 5 molecules is what we breathe. But now some agricultural scientists believe we’re moving into another fertilizer storage known as phosphorus. Plants need phosphorus, which is known in a different way as phosphate. Living creatures use phosphates in a molecule called ATP, which is what provides the power to run cells. Human beings are 1 percentage of phosphorus by their weight and scientists believe that is important for their health. Runoff waste causes the phosphates to end up underground or even chemically changed into something else. FROM THE MODERN LITERATURE CLASS
Jacquelin Padilla (Modern Literature)
Jackie and the Three Urban Pimps
Once upon a time, there was a poor, unfortunate, 15 year-old girl named Jackie.
One day she decided to go bike riding. While bike riding, she ran into a very huge house,
the size of a mansion. She spied on an open window and decided to take a look inside.
Jackie couldn’t believe her eyes. All she saw were big statues, a water fountain in the
middle of the house, and a photo in the living room. She walked towards the photo
because it caught her attention. All she saw in the photo were three guys that were
wearing white suites with rhino-skin shoes and with many diamond chains. They also had
two pit bulls.
Jackie wandered around the house and saw three diamond chains. She first tried
on one chain, but it was really heavy and long. Next she tried on another diamond chain
and it was too small. After trying those two diamond chains, she saw a chain with a
diamond money sign on it, hanging inside of a box that was spinning. Jackie grabbed it
and tried it on, it was just right. She couldn’t help staring at herself in the mirror as she
wore the chain. She came to the conclusion that the three men wearing fancy clothes were
Afterwards, Jackie walked outside and saw three fancy cars. She walked towards
one of them and the pedal was too long for her to reach. So she walked towards another
car, which had a TV inside, but the pedal was too close to her foot. Lastly, she walked
towards a Mustang with rims on it. She tried, and it was just right. Jackie decided to take
a spin, and when she reversed she accidentally crashed the back of the car.
Late that day, Jackie was really tried. She decided to wander around the house
and find a bed to sleep in. Jackie spotted three beds. The first bed was too big for her to
get on top of. The second one was a water bed and it popped when she jumped on it.
However, the third one was perfect. It was soft and just comfortable to sleep in. Jackie
woke up right when she heard voices yelling, and saying, “Where’s my chain? Who
crashed my car? Who was in here? Whose bike is this?”
In conclusion, Jackie got so frightened and hid in the bathroom. She walked
slowly and BOOM the three pimps were behind her. They were tall, muscular, and were
very wealthy looking people. The first pimp, by the name of Fernando Betancourt, told
Jackie to return him his chain. The second pimp, named Esteban Ferruchini, asked Jackie
if her parents had ever taught her never to go into people’s private property. Lastly, the
third pimp, Angelo DeMarco, told Jackie that he was going to close his eyes, and she was
supposed to be gone when he opened them. If Jackie didn’t leave he was going to call the
cops. That’s how the story of Goldilocks and the three bears actually happened.
Ephraim Natano (Modern Literature)
My Family Immigration
It all started when me and my family were back in the Philippines. I was only 5
years old and my brother was only 6 when we were going to America. Well it started
with my mom divorcing my dad and I knew it was going to happen but I never really
knew what it meant. After they divorced a year later my mom found a new boyfriend that
later on became her husband. Then they had there big wedding but I won’t really go into
details about that but they had a beautiful wedding and me and by brother were the ring
boys but I never knew I was a ring boy. Then the husband wanted my mom to move with
him to America and she said “yes.” Suddenly when our mom wanted to take us to
America my grandma wanted us to stay with her until our mom was settled in America
but, no, my mom was in hot pursuit for letting us go and of course our mom wanted us to.
Then we were getting ready and leaving family and friends and going to a new world that
I knew nothing about. This is where our journey started and I was in the plane and
watching the sky and clouds. The plane was heading to Japan fist for a refuel and we had
Japanese food. When I first saw sushi it looked good but then I took the first bite and Ii
remember spitting it out everywhere, it was so horrible! I never knew it was raw fish, I
ate only cooked fish, but now I love sushi.
Then after the refuel of the ship we headed towards America and food switched to
what actually looked good, rather than that so called Sushi. Then it was a really long trip.
I was scared and tired because it was a 16 hour-long trip and it started to storm and I
could hear only thunder. But when I heard those wheels hit the ground I knew we were
now in America. It looked so good outside and looked warm and inviting. As we were
getting our bags we noticed something - we lost one of our pieces of luggage and the bag
lady said, “that was all the bags,” we were shocked and I think most of my clothes were
in there. I was worried about what clothes I would wear? Then my new step-dad came to
pick us up and as we stepped through those doors it was freezing and I never felt that
kind of coldness because in the Philippines we don’t have winters we only have summer.
But he gave us jackets and I never knew what kind of clothes those were but it did keep
me warm. Afterwards we headed to a restaurant to meet my step-dad’s family and as we
headed there all these cars were going so fast I could barely see them. Then we went to
the restaurant. We sat down and saw all the food. It looked so weird, the vegetables etc.
But my step-dad said it was the salad bar. I never really knew what salad was but if it
involves vegetables I just keep moving. Suddenly I saw the seafood - now that's my kind
of stuff so I grabbed some of that and chicken wings because back in the Philippines we
had a lot of seafood because it is an island and oceans are all around us. I was a bit scared
because first of all, I didn’t know these people, and second I couldn’t speak English so I
just sat there using my cuteness. Couple weeks passed and we headed to school and got
there by using a school bus. It was weird to me because I had never been to school before
speaking English and I wanted to speak my language. I also missed all my friends and I
had to meet new friends. As I got to my new class I noticed something; I saw different
people, not just Americans, but from different parts of the world, so I felt happy because
at least I was not the only one from another country. Now, a couple of years later, my
mom and step-dad had a divorce and we moved to Indiana and stayed with my mom’s
aunt. We went to school just the same but I knew more English than before so I was not
as scared, but still went to go find new friends. It was still hard for us because my mom
didn’t have a job yet and we had money but I don’t really know how much. But when we
took a trip to Chicago with our aunt my mom loved it and wanted us to move there and I
was like “I don’t know,” but we did move and mom got a job and everything started to
get better for our lives since we moved to Chicago. So that’s how we ended up here in
Photograph by Jesus Mora (UB Photography Class, Summer 2011)
Portrait of Jesus by Luis Mora (Visual Art Class)
Andres Villanueva (Introduction to Literature)
Joshua’s Sacrifice
Once upon a time on February 2nd, 1996, there was this girl named Jenny and a
boy named Joshua. They were deeply in love with each other - as much as a fat person
loves food. But the problem was that Jenny was a beast in a human form.
So one day Jenny goes around selling some clothes at la segunda. This lady
comes up to her and says she would trade her the clothes for some “Mexican Frijoles”
that were magical and would turn her back to normal. She took the frijoles and ate and
went to sleep, thinking she would wake up the next morning and look like a normal
person. But she was wrong. She woke up and was so mad, like a girl whose phone has
been taken away. She went to Joshua and cried so much it felt like she was making a new
ocean. Joshua told her there was this high place up in the clouds that would grant her one
wish. So right away, that day, she started making a ladder out of random objects. In about
3 months she made it to the clouds with the help of Joshua.
When her and Joshua got up they walked up to a big mansion, opened the door and
walked in. They noticed an old man sitting on an old-time chair, he had a big white beard
and was at least 65 years or older. So they walked up to the guy and asked him for the
wish of turning Jenny back into a human. The guy said he couldn’t because she had
already eaten the Frijoles. He said that only another person could sacrifice himself to
become a beast. Joshua sacrificed himself and became a beast while Jenny became
human. They both cried and said, ”Te Amo!” and lived happily ever after.
Juan Vargas (Modern Literature)
The Tale of the Beast
It was dark. He was coming. We thought we were safe, but we weren’t. It was just
another game of dare. I didn’t mean for any of this to happen. It’s too late for that now,
and we have to think fast before he gets us. My cousin and I were running as fast as we
could through the lonely woods. It was too dark to see where all the trees and branches
were, and only god could help us now.
It was just another morning in the cabin. My parents and I invited my cousin to
come over for breakfast. He happily accepted the offer, and came over for something to
eat. As always, we got very bored and decided to do something outrageously stupid, so
we went off into the woods. We had been climbing trees and looking for reasons to dare
each other. We had been daring each other all day. We hadn’t notice it had become more
than evening, and almost nightfall. My cousin and I had a couple of dares to spare, and so
we dared. It was close to nightfall, and my cousin was always superstitious about being in
the woods after nightfall. He knew that I knew it; so I dared him to stay with me a little
after nightfall. My cousin and I know that when we dare each other, we never go back on
the dare. My cousin couldn’t stand the fact that we were twenty minutes away from our
cabins, and that we were still in the same spot as we were after nightfall. He was a little
upset that I had dared him to do what I said so he came up with a dare of his own. He told
me that a few steps ahead of us, was a hill, where an angry, hairy beast lived. He dared
me to go up the hill a few steps and call the beast out to tease him about his
imprisonment. Like the risk taker I was, I did what he dared not to do. I called out the
beast that lived a few steps up the hill. Now, I had kept in mind that it was nightfall and
that it could be a while until we get back to the cabin. However, I did not keep in mind
that if that beast broke out and came after us, it would end horribly for the both of us. Not
only because the beast would break out, but just the fact that we lived twenty minutes
away. Even if we did run, it would still be fifteen minutes of running for our lives. I stood
there in silence up over the hill waiting for a response. There was no response. When I
had turned around to go back down the hill I heard a loud grunt and a huge break from
the gate. I turned around and saw the beast. It had a black fur coat, dull but sharp teeth
with a droopy looking mouth, and a narrow set of eyes. My first thought was, “run!”. My
second thought was, “what have I done?”. I wasn’t going to stick around to find out; and
so I ran as fast as I could. Running for my life, I yelled at my cousin in front of me, “run
for your life if you want to live to see another day!” My cousin stood there looking at me
in confusion, as I yelled, “What are you waiting for?” “Run!” He looked up the hill
behind me, and saw the beast coming down the hill at a very fast pace. He didn’t stick
around to find out what the beast wanted either. We ran through the woods as fast as we
could. It was too dark to see the trees or branches. The only serious thought that was
going through my head was, “only god can save us now”. The beast was too fast and too
focused on us to be slowed down. We were too scared to look back, or at each other. The
only thing I looked forward to was the site of our cabin lights in the distance, but it
wasn’t there. We had been running for only five minutes, but it felt like hours. As every
minute passed, my cousin and I knew that the only thing we were getting closer to was
the wrath of the beast. It was so dark and I had no idea where every step I took went. It
was like trying to walk on air. I had no guidance or had no idea where I was going. Ten
minutes had passed and it felt like forever. We were five minutes away from the cabin,
and the beast was only a few seconds away from us. My shirt got stuck in a branch, and
my cousin was a few feet away from me. I yelled out, “Run or he’ll get you when he’s
done with me!” The beast jumped and wrestled me to the ground. I knew that this was the
end for me. “I might as well go out swinging”, I said to myself. I tried to fight him off but
he was too heavy and flexible. I got up and tried to run, but he just wrestled me back
down to the ground. He finally got me where he wanted, and he knew it. I closed my eyes
and waited for him to devour me quickly. The beast fell violently and made a loud thump
on the ground. Over the beast’s body stood my cousin holding a huge log covered with
spots of blood. He looked down at me and said, “A dare is a dare, and you know I never
go back on my dares”. I smiled and chuckled. I got back on my feet, and then looked
back for the beast that had laid there. It was gone, only leaving a trail of destroyed
branches. My cousin and I walked the rest of the way home and arrived safely. It was a
night to remember forever.
Carmen Rodriguez (Modern Literature)
Like Water for Chocolate: Pedro and Rosaura’s Wedding
From the Point of View of Pedro Muzquiz
I was standing with my head down looking at the flowers and the grass being
blown by the wind…and then I started to wish to be them at this very moment so I could
just slip away from this nightmare. Suddenly a noise from the far end startled and awoke
me from my thoughts. I look up just as everyone turns behind them to see the lady in
white walk down the aisle as she makes her way into the hands of her new future, which
turns out to be me. I am Pedro Muzquiz, and I am about to marry the women I do not
love, and hurt the one I do. It isn’t my intentions to do this, trust me I didn’t plan for all
of this to happen. You see I fell in love with Tita, the one I love, but her mother won’t
approve of her being with someone else. Instead of letting me go, her mom insisted I
marry her other daughter, Rosaura, and so I agreed. Now wait, I have a reason to justify
my answer to marrying the sister, I wanted to be as close as possible to Tita without her
mother having to do anything hurtful towards her. It was my only hope left. The worst
part is that Tita is deeply hurt, she is numb and she hates me with all her guts for
shattering her. Now it is very difficult for me to try to have her understand why I did this.
It was for us, but it’s no use, I messed up. As I see she gets closer, I get more nervous and
just hope my hands aren’t sweaty. The music stopped, people sat down, and we held
hands. Here comes the silent part, where every single person is so quiet so as to hear the
words of love we say to each other. When it became my turn to speak, I tried to mumble
so that my fake words weren’t heard, but not even that would work. It is so silent you can
hear someone whisper as if they were talking normal. After the ceremony ends, we throw
a huge party known as the reception. I tried looking for Tita, and finally I was able to
privately speak to her. I took this unique opportunity to talk to her and explain that I
wanted to be as close to her as possible - so I did this marriage. I held her against my
body, treasuring this one-time moment. Then the day didn’t upset me because I knew Tita
was better than before. It was like if a mountain of pressure was off my back right at that
moment when I was with my love.
Eduardo Ocampo Self Portrait (Visual Arts Class, Summer 2011)
Carmen Rodriguez Self Portrait (Visual Art Class)
The Crushing of a Child, The Rising of a Man by Daniel Diaz
The moment that I knew my childhood was over was the first time that my heart
was broken. I was in seventh grade, and my actual first love was in that grade. I was
always happy no matter what, shy, but happy and even happier when I was with her.
Eventually, I suppose, she grew tired of me and soon began to cheat on me. I didn’t want
to believe it, but I found out in the end. I was devastated, horrified and deeply saddened
that the one I loved would go behind my back, lie, and while looking me straight in the
eyes, still say “I Love You.” I was depressed and eventually moved to Colorado, where a
real life awaited me. I looked back at what I thought I would never come back to and said
to myself “Never thought I’d see the world for what it is.” Deception runs wild in this
world of ours, but because of that, I learned to understand pain and suffering. Physical
pain isn’t anything to me anymore and now I put everyone before me. That day, that year,
I knew that the little boy that I was, was gone, not forgotten, but gone. My childhood had
ended. I have the stories of many people mounted on my back, all just to help them.
Maybe it’s to fill up the void that she left behind, but it makes me happy to help others by
letting them take their feelings out on me instead of someone else. This is my job now;
I’m not a child anymore.
Power of Words Essay by Piotr Sasara
In Richard Wright’s autobiography, Black Boy, the author says how words have
powerful forces, which can destroy one’s life within few moments after saying those
words carelessly, and spontaneously. I think that words have those forces, even in books,
and that they could even cure us when we feel in certain way, or make us realize
something tremendously important about ourselves, or about our life.
Initially, by reading, one might find a way to open himself, to face the word for
what it is, to love it and to know it the way it is, to express ones feelings to the other
person. “They could not have known that Ella’s whispered story of deception and murder
had been the first experience in my life that had elicited from me a total emotional
response… I had tasted what to me was life, and I would have more of it, somehow,
someday,” (Wright, p 40). This quote shows how Wright felt about words and books,
how much they meant to him when he first read a book, and how he later felt this thirst of
wanting to learn to read.
Also, for Richard books were this thing that would make him feel safe from the
real world. “I burned to learn to read novels and I tortured my mother into telling me the
meaning of every strange word I saw, not because the word itself had any values, but
because it was the gateway to a forbidden and enchanting life,” (Wright, p 40). Richard
saw novels, the stories which they contained, and its characters, as a place safe from the
brutality of the real world. By reading, he forgot about his mother, who used to whip him
for anything he did or did not do, his father who left his family for another women, and
finally he was running away from discrimination, which he just began to see and to
understand. As for me, I also love to read to get out of this pitiful and primitive world. I
like to live in that imaginary world, along with the characters of the novel which I am
reading, and to forget about the outside, only to feel depressed at the end of the novel,
when I would have to face the reality.
Moreover, many words can be dangerous, misunderstood, or just inappropriate.
On p 11-112, Richard describes how he had triumphed over his father, who was angry
because he could not sleep because of a kitten, and told Richard to first get rid of the cat,
finally telling him to kill it. Richard’s father, however, did not mean what he said, and
Richard realizing that, still killed the kitten. Afterwards, Richard explained why he killed
the kitten, by telling everyone that his father wanted him to kill the cat. At the end of the
argument with his parents, Richard thought, “I had made him believe that I had taken his
words literally. He could not punish me now without rising his authority… I had made
him feel that, if he whipped me for killing the kitten, I would never give serious weight to
his words again,” (Wright, p 12). Here Wright explained how the understanding of the
weight of words is a powerful and useful skill.
Indeed, some words might help us to forget about something, or mislead
someone, but I think that we should remember that they—words—are powerful, and can
mean many things, and that we, sometimes, should be careful in using some of those
words which might harm someone’s feelings, and that we should not take everything
Praise Poem by Mariana Chavez
Praise to the bright colors of my flag keeping any darkness from my sight.
Praise to the prideful Mexicans who awaken the culture in me every time it starts to die
Praise to our dreamers who would cross a desert in genuine hope to find better futures.
Praise to the tortillas y frijoles that have kept meat on the bones of my ancestors until
Praise to the girls that are real women by the age of 14.
Praise to the paisanos driving around the block blasting their corridos annoying other
races, cornering them into stereotypes and hating.
Praise to the naivety of our nationality thinking America could really be the land of the
Praise to the Mafias and Cartels making our home land a dangerous place to be.
Praise to Americans who only find interest in keeping us at the bottom.
Praise to las tradiciones that have created my most beautiful memories.
Praise to the difference of ethnicities that have formed my identity.
Praise to our strict fathers who teach their young women how to respect themselves.
Praise to the humble bliss brought by family, love for others, and love for the self as
opposed to typical American Dreams when your happiness is depending on how much
money you have in your bank accounts.
Praise to a country considered so weak but so much stronger than most at heart.
Praise to the least wanted minority, but most needed minority.
Praise Poem by Martika Tapia
Praise my food, my parents, family, and friends, religion, music and ME!
Praise my food for it has these brilliant, wonderful flavors. Especially my mole. I love
my spices. It is hot and spicy. A lot of spices mixed together.
Praise my parents for they are the ones who brought me into this world. They brought
me into this world, not just one world, but two.
Praise my music. It has its own rhythm and beat to it. It is not the same as other cultures.
There’s Zapatiendo, Mariachi.
Praise my friends. They are the ones who I hang out with and make me who I am. They
are like my family.
Praise me! That I am not just one culture, but two! I am American and Mexican! I walk
around proud and almighty!
Praise my language. No languages. People expect me to know Spanish since I’m
Mexican. I know a bit of Spanish, but not so much as English. A much easier language.
Praise people and their stereotyping. I’m Mexican I should know Spanish. I should dress
like a Mexican, love my Mexican music, and know about my Mexican music. Hate it!
Don’t call me a paisa, don’t say I have the Nopale on my forehead.
Praise my paisa music. Hate it when people get drunk and decide to listen to paisa music
and decide to crank up the music.
Praise my American food. Some foods are bland – has no flavor at all.
Praise that I am not on either side. I’m not accepted as a Mexican or American.
Praise that I am this way because of the family. The way I am being raised.
Praise my ancestors, they are the ones, the reason that I have European blood, Mexican
blood, blood Latin. I am a Mestizo.
Praise my religion. I am Catholic. Us Catholics praise many things. We praise that we
are blessed. We praise the things we don’t admire, but it is that that makes us.
Praise God. For he is the reason why we are all here.
Praise Poem by Cristina Lopez
Praise my grandma’s food that makes the whole house smell like mole.
Praise my parents for coming to this country for a better life for us.
Praise going to Mexico and visiting my culture and family.
Praise the big family parties we have that don’t end until 2am.
Praise the music we have that makes us so different.
Praise the people who call me a white girl because I don’t speak Spanish so well.
Praise the people who think we only eat tacos and beans.
Praise the people who think my whole family goes in one car even though I have two.
Praise the people who ask “you don’t have more brothers or sister”, and I say “only
Praise the people who say “if you don’t like chile, then you are not a real Mexican”. I say
it’s in the blood, not what we eat.
Praise the TV showing us with cowboy clothes and hats.
Praise the great work of art our culture has given the world. Like Frida Kahlo with all the
pain she had to go though..
Praise our parents for doing everything we can to live in this country.
Praise the TV shows they put on that our moms see every night.
Praise my culture because I don’t care what they say, I am happy with who I am.
Yesenia Villanueva Praise… Praise my big family which everyone has because we are not people of only one child. Praise my mom for teaching me all the things that her mom taught her. Praise the food that my mom makes every day; nopales, enchiladas, frijoles, and much more. Praise the salsa that I eat with every meal, the spicy mole and the lovely jalapenos we take a bite of with every taco. Praise the long fiestas in which we celebrate as a family, hasta la madrugada, nonstop. Praise the corridos that play at those parties in which everyone gets up to dance to except me. Praise the paisas that won’t be quiet, who sing to every song that comes out louder than anyone else. Praise the borrachos in all the parties that start talking and talking and get so stubborn as soon as they had more than enough beer. Praise the myths and stories that our grandparents tell from Mexico, about la llorona scaring all the little kids. Praise the discrimination we face all because we are looking for a better life and the judgment we get because of the way we dress. Praise the customs that we children must follow and that our children must follow as well. Praise the novelas that I watch every morning or afternoon with my parents, because it is how we all get to talk about something. Praise the two worlds in which I live in, not being able to decide whether to declare myself of one or the other, and I don’t think I ever will. Praise my Spanish, something that I’ll never forget no matter how long I live in the U.S. Praise the uniqueness that we all have for being a part of two worlds and not leaving either one of them. ON SET IN THE FILM & VIDEO CLASS
Childhood Memories by Kenneth Brito
A childhood memory that I shall cherish forever is my brother being brought into
this world. When my brother was born I recall a lot of detail what I was doing and I was
very excited when my family told me that I was going to have a new brother. When my
mom was going to conceive my little brother, I became thrilled to know that I will
become a bigger brother. My family was so rejoiced
My whole family and I were eager for the doctor to tell us about the good news.
For several hours, we waited like churchgoers waiting for a joyful sermon. But finally,
after what seemed like years, my family and I discovered that everything was alright.
When my brother was born, I felt the need to thank God. I don’t know why, but I
was feeling love, compassion, and hope all together. I was hoping my brother would
grow to be the same size and be like me. I loved him because he and I are like one body. I
felt compassionate and was crying just like he was.
Power of Language by Erica Roman
Black Boy by Richard Wright demonstrates the power of language in Richard
Wright’s life; it shows how words can impact people in different ways depending on their
perspective of the word.
In Black Boy Richard went to school for the first time and was excited to learn
new things especially how to read, but once he arrived at school his new classmates
taught him words that were not appropriate. The four letter words that Richard had
learned in school were bad words. But he was so amazed by all the words he had learned
that he wanted to display them everywhere. Richard Wright states, “I scrubbed at the
four-letter soap-words and grew blind with anger. I sobbed, begging my mother to let me
go, telling her that I would never write such words again; but she did not relent until the
last soap-word had been cleaned away. Never again did I write words like that: I kept
them to myself” (Wright, 25). This did not have a good outcome because once his mother
saw these words she was extremely angry and made him clean every last word. Richard
learned not to say or write these words because they were bad and could get him into a lot
of trouble.
In Black Boy Richard talks back to his grandmother when she does not want Ella
to finish reading to him a novel about a man and his seven wives because she feels that
it’s wrong and Richard should not be learning about that. Richard Wright wrote, “You
shut your mouth,” she hissed. “You don’t know what you’re talking about!” “But I want
to hear what happened!” I wailed, dodging another blow that I thought was coming.
“That’s the Devil’s work!” she shouted” (Wright, 39). Richard wanted to learn more
about the story “Bluebeard and His Seven Wives”, but his grandmother did not want him
to learn about it because she thought it was the devil’s work. She did not want Ella to tell
Richard about what happened in the novel either so she asked her to leave her home and
find somewhere else to live. In this event of Richard’s life the power of language
impacted someone else’s life not only his.
In Black Boy Richard offends his grandmother when he mistakenly tells her to
kiss his behind while she’s drying him after his bath. “Bend over,” she ordered. I stopped
and she scrubbed my anus. My mind was in a sort of daze, midway between daydreaming
and thinking. Then, before I knew it, words – words whose meanings I did not fully know
– had slipped out of my mouth. ‘When you get through, kiss back there,” I said, the
words rolling softly but unpremeditatedly,” (Wright, 41). These words were extremely
insulting to his grandmother because she was an elder woman who children were to
respect. But, Richard did not fully understand what those words meant but his
grandmother did and he was punished for saying them.
Richard Wright shows many events in his life that show how the power of
language had impacted his life. Throughout his life he learned that words had different
meanings. And that everybody took them in a different sense. Some words were nice and
some words were not meant to be said aloud. Throughout Richard’s life he has learned to
choose words wisely.
Childhood Memory by Erica Roman
One hot summer day when I was eight and a half years old, I was coming home
from school when I felt a hot goosebump down my neck so I ran across the street from
my elementary school towards home in a hurry. As far back as I can remember I always
wanted a pet dog. Every each and one of my birthdays that I could make a wish when
blowing out my candles, I always wished for a dog. This summer afternoon I had come
home from school and was told by my mom that there was a present waiting for me in the
garage. I remember racing to the garage thinking in my mind that it was a bicycle
because that year on the 6th of January we celebrate “el dia de los reyes magos” also
known as ‘The three kings day’ which is twelve days after Christmas in which the three
wise men bring children presents like Santa Claus on Christmas. This year, in 2003, I had
not received any presents so I was hoping to find a bike. As I was out the basement door,
passed my backyard, turning around the corner into my garage my father opened the
door. I clearly remember him holding up a small, German shepherd puppy with big
brown eyes. I was extremely happy and excited that I hastily brought our new puppy
upstairs to our living room and said, “What are we going to name her?” My sister then
quickly said “Rubi?!” And from that they on we ended up calling our dog Rubi. This is
one of my happiest childhood memories.
Childhood Memory by Elize Dominguez
When I was little we always had these amazing Christmases. My most favorite
one was when I was about five. We were at my aunt’s house, of course. We go there for
every major event because that’s where my grandma lives. The house was pretty big with
three bedrooms and two bathrooms. Right when you walked in the house you would see
the tall Christmas tree and its glory in the living room. It was always a different color
every year. This year it was all golden with golden streamers, glistening ornaments, jaw
dropping bright lights, and a mountain of gifts all around. It matched the golden dress my
mom made me wear. My dress had sequins, ruffles, and a whole bunch of glitter. It lay
around me beautifully when I sat on the floor. The gifts to me seemed to tower over
I sat with my cousins, not hungry because the yearning for presents took over me.
Impatiently waiting until midnight I watched everybody dance. With harmonious music
playing it was hard not to jump up and shake your booty. I watched my parents and some
drunken relatives move to the beat and giggled nonstop. Sooner than I thought it was
twelve, time to open presents. My aunt had passed out gifts this year. She did the best job
ever; to me she timed everything perfectly. I was glad to see my family happy, not
knowing that would probably be the last time I’d see them that way. It was an amazing
glow, just like in the movies everything and everyone was moving in slow motion. Then
it was my turn to open a present. I got a huge Barbie plane thing with a whole bunch of
accessories; exactly what I wanted. I also got a bunch of clothes and other little toys, but
the Barbie plane was by far my favorite.
Racism by Piotr Sasara
R-rude, unkind and
A-angry words
C-cruel to say the least
I-it doesn’t make any sense to me
S-sensitive, caring people would not say those
M-mean and hurtful comments
Do You See Me?
by Martika Tapia
This world is futile, people around me are futile. But really people are just weird to me.
Everyone looks like an alien: a big unknown: question mark. They all seem to fit into this
world, except for me. I am conspicuous but I wonder once in a while, do they the strange
people actually see me. I do my best. I do my best to be adept at this world, this queer
world. I do my best to fit in and not do anything that would be incorrect. But it seems that
the more I try or even the less I try its useless. It seems or maybe there’s an iron curtain
between me and people. Or am I shunned? It just seems to me that I walk in this world,
but as a no one. I walk in this world with my civics pass, but it’s useless I say, “why?!
Why be a good civilian when people I find weird find me weird yet I can’t fit in! I curse
on that! Why try!” Now I don’t care since I am by myself and no one is here but me, I am
behind the curtain, why not annihilate myself.
Hate poem
By Jeremiah Natano
Hate flew,
through middle school it grew,
with it grudge took root,
every day it bore fruit.
I hate the hate,
so heavy it weighs me down,
everyday gives me a frown,
maybe this was my fate.
Look into my heart,
my emotions depart,
it is bare and black, not a single beat
I have suffered defeat
the world is dead to me
just leave me be….
Praise Poem
By Jeremiah Natano
Praise to the Spaniards that went to Philippines and made our blood unique.
Praise for the independence where many Filipino men and women fought and sacrificed
their lives.
Praise for the different delicious foods in the Philippines.
Praise my grandfather for bringing Chinese Blood in my veins that makes me different
from other Filipinos.
Praise for the different religions in the Philippines that make our country diverse.
Praise the people who stereotype me because I’m Asian.
Praise for the people who bullied me in 6th-7th grade that made me who I am today.
Praise my mom for giving me small feet.
Praise my high metabolism for keeping me skinny.
Praise the poverty in Philippines that makes it a 3rd world country.
Praise women for being so beautiful.
Praise ramen noodle for being so convenient and good.
Praise friends who are there for you when you need them the most.
Praise the farmers who grow food for us to eat every day.
By Maria Cortez
Praise walking around the campos of Chiautla, Puebla, cutting pitallas off the cactus.
Praise the fresh smell of Mexican mole when my grandmother is cooking at the kitchen.
Praise the celebration of Dia de los Muertos and putting ofrendas to those who passed
Praise watching those dances with the women with big dresses and the men wearing their
charro outfits.
Praise walking down the street and letting the sand touch my feet.
Praise the corridos and rancheras songs playing at my house.
Praise the scorpions lying around outside of the house; afraid to be sting at.
Praise the scorching hot weather that burns my skin.
Praise not being a true Mexican just because I don’t eat spicy food and true Mexicans eat
spicy food.
Praise the wild bees that are crazy enough to sting you if you’re near them.
Praise celebrating posadas at our house and carrying that tradition down each generation.
Praise my family gathering together at my house every Sunday.
Praise for celebrating Quinceañeras every year.
Praise for making tamales and ponche on Christmas Eve.
Praise for my family still being Mexican and not forgetting our roots.
The Separating of Two Worlds Daniel Diaz It was a sunny and hot summer day. My whole family was out at the beach and as a minor; I had to tag along no matter what. I had always loved the beach, sure it was cold water that froze you to the bones and possibly the soul, but it was also sunny. Now this was back when I loved the sunshine unconditionally and begged it to always be sunny as it was today, no matter what the temperature was. Any kid at that age loved the sun as I did, but that was all to change after today. I was eager to go and play in the sand and swim in the water or possibly drown since I wasn’t much of a good swimmer back then. That and I always believed that there were sharks somewhere in the depths of Lake Michigan. This is why you never show scary movies to children because our minds just capture the images of what we see and our minds are yet not mature enough to determine reality in the screen to reality in life. I had watched too much Jaws and the thing that I always found funny was that they showed Jaws on T.V. only during the summer and always about a couple days before I went to the beach. Eventually, the adults would tire of our winnings, the rest of my cousins and me, and give in and take us to what we wanted our destination to be. After what seemed to be hours, which in fact were probably a mere thirty minutes or less, we were all suited up and ready to go. The beach was warm and my feet were hot on the sand, but altogether was a great combination when I arrived at the waters’ edge. The soft grains of sand turned to mush and mud as you got to the very edge were solid met with liquid and yet, did not mix. My cousins and I played with the sand for a while, burying people in it, building castles, or at least trying to because for some odd reason we never could make an actual castle but more of a distorted imitation of one. Somehow though, that never stopped us from trying and having a wonderful time. I always loved playing with my cousins, we were family and to me it was a great time went family got together and just hung out. With the playing of the sand, some of us would sometimes find interesting things such as toys that were left or forgotten by their old owners and were now passed on to us. It was a common thing for us, almost a tradition to find something in the sand every time we went to the beach. Whether it be a toy or some money, heck even a unique seashell would be amazing, for in our eyes, we had found a treasure. In particular that day, I had found a toy boat. It was yellow, and was also able to be used as a pale for sand, but I took to it as just a boat for playing or carrying water for the moat of our so called castle. When at last our attention withdrew from the sand and onto the bone chilling water, we dared to venture into it. I was the last to enter, for I still was afraid of encountering a shark or simply freezing to death in that water which apparently had no affect on other people that entered it. Somehow I managed to enter it and left my treasure in the care of my mom. I went over to be my cousins were. Immediately as I had reached them, I was ignored, shunned away. I didn’t really care much at the time because I just lost interest in wanting to talk with them and just left. I went back to my mom and retrieved my boat so I could pass the time and have some imaginary game with it in the waves that were arriving in big flushes. I had this game in my head were I would be the captain of the ship and that I was in a terrible storm, since the waves looked big when I was at that age, and I had to drive the ship over the wave the best I could without letting the boat be swallowed by it. It was fun, because I would laugh once in a while n the waves were simply fun to be in. After a while tough, as my game wore on, I got up and went to the shore. I had become a bit tired from fighting the waves. The water had somehow drained my little body of most of its strength, which in that time, was almost nothing. I began to play with the sand again, making odd structure when I heard an uncle talking to my mom. He had begun to say how I must have had a large imagination because of how long I entertained myself when I played. I was proud of that n happy to hear that I had such an imagination, and at such a young age. Yet, I suppose he couldn’t help himself to stop, or simply he thought I wasn’t paying much attention or didn’t understand what he was saying, but he had to add, “has always playing alone. All by him is what vie noticed. Must be hard for him, but thank God, that he has a huge imagination to keep him from thinking him alone.” Somehow, after I heard this, I didn’t pay much attention to what I was doing. I tried to ignore it, but it stuck with me for a long time, until, I could play no more with the sand. I went back into the water, and just stood and sat in it after I tired of standing. I let the wave’s splash around me, but somehow they weren’t the same waves I was playing with a few minutes earlier. I was in this sort of trace for what seemed like an eternity. I didn’t act, I didn’t move, I might as well have just not been thinking. I wasn’t on the beach anymore, I was in a space. A never ending space where I was alone, just a kid and nothing more. What my uncle had said that day, I don’t know if he meant it or not, or if he did, that maybe he wouldn’t of said it had he known I was listening, but the world that had been revolving around me, had been destroyed. I was no longer in a world where everything was happy, where I was happy, and where I thought everything was good. That world had been destroyed that day, and I’ve yet to find or see that world again. When I at last came back to the senses in my body and away from the void that had surrounded me for nearly an eternity, I stood up and was disoriented. Maybe it was because the world I was in was destroyed and this new world I had just set foot upon was so strange and alien to me. Or perhaps it was the after affects of being in the void for a long yet short time. Eventually I began to walk towards this new and alien shore that I knew I had been playing on happily just a few minutes ago. Before I stepped on dry land, I looked back to that lake, and all I could see, was that the puddle in which I was playing was now a vast ocean of loneliness and an abyss of darkness that awaited for me to fall into it many times to come in my life. What my uncle said that day, it opened my eyes, made me see the light to which my eyes were completely blind to. I was never the same happy, big smiled, joyful kid that had arrived that day on the beach. I noticed things that made me sad from then on and made me feel like an outcast. I noticed how my cousins, the ones which I had grown up with, had discarded me as if I were nothing but a piece of trash; a used up toy that had broken or a toy that they had outgrown. I never again bore a smile every second of the day, from morning sunrise to nightfall. I became a serious kid who kept to himself and tried only to protect what was inside. Besides, who cared about me, if the ones who I thought were my best friends and were indeed my family by blood had discarded me like a piece of trash, what was stopping from the rest of the family from doing the same? This moment changed me from that joyful child to a serious child who rarely ever enjoyed family outings again as I did in the past before that day. The only reasons why I smiled once in a while was because at times I did feel accepted and hoped flared through me as blood runs through the veins inside oneself, that I was still one of them, or simply to say “hey I’m ok, don’t worry about me,” but never again was I the same. That day my uncle popped my bubble and it will be a memory that will be engraved in my mind forever more. FROM THE GLOBAL ISSUES CLASS
In the story, “On Rainy River,” author Tim O’Brien has to make a difficult choice. He
envisions people from his past, present, and future that guide him to make this lifechanging decision. Students write about who will be there during their big decisions.
On My Rainy River
Adrian Soto
Crossroads happen a lot during our lifetime, little and big ones, but the big ones
are the ones that leave a bigger impact on our life. Our crossroads are something that
cannot be thought of ahead of time. No matter how much we prepare for a decision, it
will be different when the time comes to make it.
There in my dreams, I take a slow boat ride on my rainy river. The river meets its
end when the river decides to stop are two tunnels. These tunnels have dark entrances,
but clear endings. At the top of each tunnel are great men. On the left stands Dr. Thomas
Willis, the founder of neurology, with a white coat whiter than anything I have seen
before. On the right tunnel stands a man tall and proud, Chesty Puller, our most decorated
United States Marine. The closer I get to the dark tunnels the more brighter things
become and I become less alone. On the left I see Bugs Bunny, but I assume he’s only
there because he took a wrong turn in Albuquerque. There I see Zulma on the left shaking
her head “no” in disappointment, because I am veering to the right. Still on the left is
Yessenia leering at me with her judgmental eyes, hating my every action. Both of them
telling me not to go to the right. As the boat tilts towards the left without my control, I
notice our past presidents encouraging me to go the right way. Thomas Jefferson is
encouraging me to fight for freedom. Andrew “Old Hickory” Jackson, asking me to take
down the banks, because they are vipers and thieves. John Fitzgerald Kennedy is telling
me not to forget what he died for. And Benjamin Franklin telling me not to give up
liberty for security. Standing tall is Superman, the man of steel, telling me to fight for
truth justice and the American way. How can anyone not want to go to the right? How
can we forget what all these soldiers have gone through for our freedom? Mr. Remigio
standing by a wall spray painting it, just telling me to do what feels right. Even there split
between personality, young Billy Batson on the left, and the courageous Captain Marvel
on the right. If I got to the right I will die a hero, and be praised by a country that does
not even know my name. Or go to the left and save a few lives that remember my name.
On the left is the life of a neurologist, on the right is the life of a hero. The closer I get to
the tunnels entrance it begins to get darker. The path to the future is unclear to me. Every
night I will ride my rainy river and allow it to go to dark. Would it matter anyway? The
choice I make now might not be the choice I make in the future.
“The Things I Will Carry” by Luis Mora
Whenever the thought of college comes up, the first questions that come to
someone’s mind are, “How will I pay for it? Where will I go?” and “What will I study?”
Those are all good questions to ask, but an equally good question is what will I take with
I am a year away from graduating high school and hopefully going to college.
That is why I have a good idea of what I will carry with me when I head off. I will
physically carry with me my: rosary, iPod, and a picture of my family.
I will carry my rosary because I feel like it is a part of me. I never take it
off…ever. This rosary (also my first rosary) has been around my neck for three years
now, and I have only misplaced it once. My rosary makes me feel safe. It makes me feel
protected wherever I go whenever I leave my home. Mi “Rosario“ will bring a piece of
home along with it; reminding me of what is right and what is wrong. This is the main
item on both lists; it will help me keep faith in myself, and everything I do.
Music is all around us, so it is no surprise that my iPod made the list on things to
take with me to college. Different kinds of music express different kinds of emotions. I
have many genres and many playlists on my iPod. Music can also be used to fit in with
all kinds of activities, and that is why I have: a workout playlist, an oldies playlist, my
chill playlist, my banda playlist etc. Depending on my mood at the time that my
headphones are plugged into my ears decides what playlist I will listen to. Having my
iPod with me while I attend college is a must. It will bring with it the rhythms and beats
that my family and I enjoy listening, singing, and dancing to.
Speaking of family, my last item (but not the least) includes them. The final
object in this list is a picture of my family. I cannot bring my family along when I part
for college, but I can bring a picture of them with me whether in a frame or in my wallet.
The photo will simply be there to make me smile, and to remind me of the loved ones
back at home that love me and miss me as much as I miss them.
The past three items have all been tangible, which means that they can easily be
destroyed or stolen by others. But intangible items can never be taken away, because
nobody but you can be inside your head. For that reason I have three other “items” on
my list.
Advice, it goes a long way for someone who knows it and takes advantage of it. I
will store the advice of my older brothers and sisters; although few of them have not
given it, I know they will not fail to donate it when the time is right. What better words
to trust than those of the people who were in your shoes not long ago right?
While we are in the “past” topic, I would like to mention my second intangible
item, memories. While I stay away for college: I will think back at my childhood
memories, mostly the things I wanted as a child growing up, and also the things I wanted
as a teenager. These desires will remind me of why I am attending college, and what it is
I have to accomplish in order to fulfill the desires I longed for since I was younger like:
the type of people I want to meet, the car I want to have, the home I want to live in, and
the type of community I want to raise my children in. Not one other person understands
what I want for myself but I, and it is up to me to do something about it.
I know what I want for myself, I also know what others (friends and family) want
for me. When I go away to college I will take with me a mental picture of the special
individuals that always wanted nothing but the best for me. It is not just one or two
people, but many, and they all differ from: age, race, gender, and living or dead. All of
these mental images will encourage me; they will drive me forward to accomplish many
things, so that I can prove to myself and those people what I was always capable of.
Those are the main things I will carry with me when I head off for college. The
tangible and intangible items I just wrote about are in this day and time the most
important and necessary things for me to carry with me. I know that further along this
school year I may add some other items, but I know one thing for sure; none of the six I
have listed will be taken off my list.
The Things I Will Carry to College
Salvador Hurtado
Writer Tim O’Brien once said, “The things we carry represent who we are and,
perhaps, who we want to be.” There are many tangible things I will carry to college. One
of them is my watch, so I can manage my time. Something else I will carry to college are
pictures of my family. Lastly, I will carry my necklace, because I have worn it so much
that it is almost a part of me.
I will also be taking many intangible things to college. For example my goals, so I
can have something to be aiming for in college. I will also be taking my memories.
Lastly, I will take my curiosity for this world, so I will always have an open mind and
remember to ask questions.
When I go to college I will want to enjoy all that it has to offer like the campus,
the food, the people, the surroundings of the campus. If it happens to be around a city, I
will like to explore it, if it is around a country, I will like to ride a horse, if there is an
open sky, I will like to lay down and enjoy the view. All in all, there is a lot to do in
college and time is not on my side. That is why I will carry a watch to keep track of my
self. I will be able to do my studies, and have time to enjoy all that the college has to
In my family, I am the oldest of nine. One of the reasons I am going to college is
because I want to be a roll model for my brothers and sisters. That is why I will carry
pictures of them in my journey to college. If there is ever a time that I give up and slack
of in college, I will have those pictures to remind me why I am there. One of those
pictures is of my little sister, she is short for a ten year old and dark skin, in that picture
she is smiling with her deep dimples. Every time I look at that picture I smile back at it,
and remember all the times I got home, opened the front door and she would be there.
Then she would purposely exaggerate run at me and hug me, squeezing me, and pretend
she is crying as if she has not seen me in for a long time. Looking at her picture will fill
me with joy, motivate me to keep going, and remind me to smile. She has showed me to
enjoy all the little details in everyday life. This is why I will carry pictures of my family
with me to college.
I have a necklace that I carry around my neck, that necklace has been with me so
long that it feels like a part of me. That necklace was given to be by a close friend. The
reason I carry that necklace around is because it reminds me of what a true friend is all
about. Someone who will speak the truth to you when no one else will, someone that will
spend 4th of July in top of a rough top with you, someone who will leave you alone in
order for you to do your homework, someone that will hug you and tell you I love you
man. My necklace is worn out, it is black, it is formed by different cylinder shaped beads.
The beads all have the same width but the length of the bead varies by the pattern that
continues thru out the whole necklace, the pattern of the beads is a large bead first, small,
medium, and small. That pattern forms the necklace that means so much to me. When I
go to college I do not want to let distance or anything get in the way of remembering the
great friends I have made, and the meaning of friendship that they have shown me.
When I am aiming for something I get more motivated to not stop till I do what I
am aiming for. For example, in basketball when I am just throwing free throws, I tend not
to stop till I make a basket and continue once I make it. In college I will like to do the
same thing and be aiming for something, so I will not give up till I get there. One of my
goals is when I am in college to find the carrier that will be my passion, and I will always
enjoy. That is why I will be tacking the goals I have with me to college.
Something I really enjoy is talking to a friend, and recall the good times we had,
or describing a really funny moment we had. I will like to also do that in college that is
why I am tacking my memories. I will like to talk about the good times I had through out
high school with somebody in college to simply entertain each other, or just laugh. I will
also like to go back home and talk about my experiences in college. I will always like to
have my life experiences with me, I don’t want to forget all that I have learned from the
people I have met. That is why memories is something I will carry to college.
Lastly, I will be tacking my curiosity for this world with me. I will take this to
college for I will always ask when I have questions, and learn new things everyday. I
really enjoy learning new things, because there is so much to learn and knowledge lets
me understand this world a little better. I will most likely not learn everything there is to
know about this world, but I will like to take the opportunity and learn the things that I
have at my reach. This is why I am tacking my curiosity for this world with me to
Over all there is a lot to carry to college, not including the books for your classes and
pencils, and pens. I think what you carry to college tangibly, and intangibly will be apart
of the overall decision if college will make you or break you.
The Things I Carry by Arley Ixtlilco
Sometimes people need to carry items to remind them of who they are, where
they came from, why they do what they do and to help them keep going and sometimes
simple items can have powerful meanings most of us have these items whether their
tangible or intangible.
In The Things They Carried each soldier carried items throughout the war that
represented who they were. Things I always carry with me now, and will probably always
carry for the rest of my life, are my glasses, keys, cell phone and my school materials that
are in my backpack. Without my glasses I would not be able to see things and that is why
my glasses are the most important thing I need to have with me. I carry my keys because
no matter how the day goes, I will always go back home to my family and can count on
my keys to get me inside. Although my keys are just a little piece of metal, or maybe not
even metal, they represent more than just what they are. To me they symbolize my house
and my freedom because they simply belong to my house and let me in everyday to the
place where I can always find my family. The other representations my keys have to me
are my freedom because most of us aren’t allowed to come and go whenever we want at
young ages. Parents need to feel they can trust their kids enough to make the right
choices. Once I got my keys I felt my parents trusted me enough to go out and come back
at a reasonable time without having to come home and have to knock for permission to
come in. Finally, I carry my cell phone because which I consider it to be the thing that
helps me keep in touch with friends and family that are far away and keeps me up to date
with what’s going on around the world.
Now apart from my physical items or tangible I will also soon be carrying with
me to college intangible items like my determination, humor, and heritage. These will be
the most important things I carry with me to college because they will portray who I am.
As it is with most people, determination is really important because it is what makes us
work hard for what we want and graduating from college will be one of those things I
want because ill be able to have achieved more than what my parents did and then when I
have kids I want them to go farther then I did but not for me but for themselves also to
have a good job and to be able to move out of the neighborhood into a better
environment/neighborhood. I want to graduate from college because I don’t want to
continue living in the neighborhood that I do at the moment. So by going to college I’ll
be able to get a job and move away to a better environment. My humor will be useful for
those rough days when everything isn’t going the way I would like them too it helps me
try to see things in a better way and sometimes funnier although I don’t always
rationalize actions on the spot. Finally, my Mexican-American heritage will in a way
keep me in line, will help me to continue going on and remind me why it is I decided to
go to college what I had to do and what sacrifices my parents had to go through in order
for me to be where I am/will be because it is easy to forget simple things like where you
came from and those who supported you so eventually if I am fortunate enough to I will
be able to give back to those who gave to me and myself.
Just like the soldiers who each carried their tangibles and intangibles to war to
represent them and as charms to help them keep going on strong at war these items above
will me my tangibles and intangible that I will carry with me throughout college and life
to help me succeed anywhere I go.
We went to visit Chinatown Chicago. First we went to Chinatown Square where there
were zodiac symbols for what year you were born. I found out I was the bull. When our
tour guide came we saw the mural that showed the past of the Chinese. The mural was
made of 100,000 small tiles. Then we went to see the Nine Dragon Wall. The wall has
nine dragons because the number nine is a lucky number. Then we saw some lion
statues, which are a mixture of four different animals, and they come in pairs so if one
broke you’d have to buy another pair. Then we went inside a Buddhist Temple. They
told a story of a prince that had everything he ever wanted and once he went outside the
palace and saw a woman crying and he did not know why so he became a wanderer to
understand why the woman was crying. From there we went to a restaurant to eat. The
food was great but I did not know what some of it was. Then we went to see the Circus
Shanghai. It was amazing. They did some things that I would not think possible. But
they saved the best part for last, the Ball of Death. They got four motorcycles in there. I
thought they were going to crash or something, but they did not. So, that is about it. It
was an amazing day.
Angelo Vicente-Hudson
I used to not let anyone help me with anything. I trusted no one and I would
isolate myself. Perhaps I deluded myself into believing I was happy. When someone
would talk to me I would put on a fake smile and pretend to have a good time. I
remember one summer I spent entirely alone. Rarely did anyone talk to me except to ask
what was wrong. I would lie and say nothing, but I think it was pretty obvious I was
lying. At the time I didn’t think I needed any one; I couldn’t rely on others. I would
never take chances.
Maybe I began acting like this because of my situation, as an attempt to protect
myself from the world. I live at home with my mom and one of my two brothers and my
sister. My father isn’t around but I remember the one time I saw him. I remember his
rugged beard and worn out hands. He didn’t speak English, but my mom must have
understood enough Spanish to create me, because here I am. We moved around a lot in
my life starting with the day our first house burned down when I was in the third grade. I
think someone downstairs was playing with matches one night, and the man upstairs
came knocking on the door waking up my sister. We got out safely but we lost a lot of
things in the fire, mostly clothes. The building was boarded up and we had to move. After
that we never spent two years in one place until we moved to the house that we just left.
My mom has a lot of difficulty raising us and paying the bills at the same time.
Sometimes she comes home from work and does nothing but lie on the couch and go to
sleep. My sister gave up her college goals to stay and help my mom. She wanted to be a
photographer. She has a dozen cameras and more pictures than you could count. Now she
has to work a security job where she leaves the house at 4:00am and returns at 11:00pm.
This struggle affects everyone in the household. My grades slipped. My mom is
always tired, and my sister is too. My brother seems not to care and just thinks that
everything will get better by itself. I sometimes worry what is going to happen to us. This
constant worrying has stopped me from being involved in extracurricular activities. For a
short period there was a time where things seemed they would get better. Later things
returned to their usual state, chaos.
All of this going on led me to want to join the Upward Bound program. When the
recruitment coordinator for the program came to my elementary school and gave the
presentation, she said the program would help me go to college. Hearing this I thought,
“That’s it. This is my way out.” Upward Bound is a federally funded program designed
to help students prepare for college. It offers a summer program, Saturday classes, and
tutoring during school. In the program I have changed drastically from who I was three
years ago to who I am now. It didn’t come all at once though, but in little spurts. In the
program I have done things that have helped me. I had to give presentations, give
speeches write personal journal entries and then read them in front of the class and such.
These exercises have given me a boost in confidence and helped me grow into a better
I have come a long way. When people said that I would never become anything, I
used to believe them. However, now I realize that I can do whatever I want. There are
things that I could have done differently. I could have interacted in more activities in
school. Everyone makes mistakes, but the important part is to learn from them and move
It may have taken a long time to learn this but I am hardworking and driven and
do not give up easily. I have dedicated a lot of my time to participating in the Upward
Bound program from the summer of 8th grade all the way through high school. I am not
really sure as to what I would like to study, but some of my interests are video game
design, architecture, graphic design, or quite possibly a career in animation. I like the
drawing and creative aspects of all of these areas of study. I will work really hard to
make my family proud of me and I plan on seeing my dreams bloom to fruition.
Yesenia Peyret “Are you going to be our teacher today?” These were the words of one of the little six year old girls that I was assigned to teach at my church for Sunday school. Every Sunday, something enjoyable happens when I teach these little kids. I have fun creating activities so that they can learn about God. I love watching them learn and play at the same time. It has brought back memories of how I used to learn when I was a little girl. I also love reading Bible stories to them because it’s an entertaining way to learn about brave Bible characters, like David from the story David and Goliath. I have come to love these children very much because being surrounded by their laughter and love is unforgettable. I know from experience that children will always remember a good teacher, and teaching and learning from these kids is both a privilege from God and a pleasure. I will always remember my fourth grade teacher Ms. Abrill because she was so patient and kind. She was a tall, white woman with glasses who always smelled good, and she taught me how to make origami cranes and how to write in cursive. Being a Sunday school teacher has made me realize that I have a passion for teaching. My mom used to always tell me that I would make a great teacher because I am very patient with my little brother when I am helping him with his homework. I am always patient when he does not know things he should already know, like multiplying 2x2. My brother is going to be in special education in seventh grade. He had a heart surgery when he was a newborn. I thank God my little brother is here with us. Without my brother, I wouldn’t have known the importance of being patient, especially when you are teaching someone who finds it hard to learn. I realize that he is capable of learning, but he needs extra attention, which I love to give him and would enjoy giving to other students in the future. This is why I want to go to college. I have always been eager to learn in school. I remember not being challenged my freshman year of high school when I had regular classes. But when my teachers recommended me for honors classes my sophomore year I was so happy and excited. Then I got into AP classes my junior year, which included an AP Government class that required me to take notes on a whole textbook and to write a ten page research paper. I have never taken so many notes in my life or written such a long paper. I received an A for the class. I know that my AP classes will prepare me for college level work. I like to be challenged and I want to work hard so that I can spend the rest of my life doing something rewarding that I truly love. I am eager to earn my professional degree for becoming a special education or kindergarten teacher. Another challenge that I have taken is joining the Upward Bound program after I graduated from eighth grade. Upward Bound is a federally funded college prep program that helps low income students prepare to go to college. This program offers a summer program, Saturday classes, tutoring, career exploration activities, field trips and college visits. Joining the Upward Bound program has made my summers more interesting and helpful. I remember my first time riding the train by myself. I had to take the pink line to Harold Washington Library. I used to walk to the train station around 8:00 a.m., and I had to wait for the inbound train towards the Loop. I like this train station because there are a lot of colorful murals, and it has a really nice view overlooking 18th street in the Pilsen area, which is the largest Mexican community in Chicago and where I live. Getting on the train by myself to go downtown at the age of fifteen was both an exciting and scary experience. I was always used to having my mom drop me off to school, but I was on my own now. I was becoming more independent, which I liked. One of the most interesting, educational experiences I’ve had in Upward Bound is the residential week. During the residential week we go live on a college campus; it is really fun because we have classes in college rooms and have many other activities. I love playing softball with the Upward Bounders, other students who are also eager to go to college. The residential week allows me to experience what it’s like to go away to college. This is important to me because neither of my parents had the chance to go to college. I hope to one day teach my students about how valuable education is and that wisdom is better than all the gold in the world. Human Relationships Class, 2011
The Facts of Life, Yesenia Villanueva
“How are babies made? Where do babies come from? What does pregnant mean? What does sex mean?” Those are just some of the questions that haunt a little child’s mind, some of the questions that were in my mind as a child. I would of course be looking for the answers everywhere in this big world. Most of the answers I was looking for, I discover were hidden in books and others answers were given to me at school. There was also the wonderful tool called the internet. Here I would look up some things that I did not fully understand at school. At school they taught us about pregnancy and sex. In sixth grade they explain to us how a woman was able to get pregnant and where the baby would come out. I remember that in fifth grade I watched the movie “The Miracle of Life” in science class. This was quite an interesting movie but I didn’t really understand everything. Some of these confusions were clarified later on in health class, or in books or on the internet. It never did occur to me to ask my parents, they never told me the answers to my questions or confusions about how babies were made. I saw people having sex on TV shows, I heard people talking about sex around me, but I never talked about it with anyone. I thought it was that whenever you ask your parents a question, they would have no hesitation in answering it. I never did ask my mom “Where do babies come from?” which is a very common question for most kids. I can’t blame her for not teaching me the facts of life because it is also my fault that I never did ask her any questions. Sometimes when I watch a movie or a show on TV, there is a parent teaching their child about how babies are made and about where they come from. I would think that one day the same thing will happen to me, but it never does. I sometimes also see commercials in which kids are asking their parents to talk to them about sex and everything they need to be ready for in their adult lives. Those commercial sometimes come on when I am watching TV with my mom, but neither she nor I comment on it. We both just continue watching TV. Then there were other kids; I heard them talking to about their parents, giving them “the talk”. It makes me sad that I don’t have a confident relationship with my parents, since I don’t ask them any questions. I guess it’s also hard for them to talk to me about it. They have told me some things that I have to be aware of, like my mom did inform me about my period. The only time that I can remember my parents mentioning something about the facts of life was when I had homework in health class. I was doing my homework at the kitchen table while watching my mom cook and thinking about all the questions about the facts of life that were popping into my head at the time. Then my dad came home after a long day at work; he sat down next to me and ask me what I was doing. I showed him the paper and explain to him what it was about. I found it really awkward to talk to my dad about these things in my homework. I'm sure that my parents are not the only ones who find it hard to talk to their kids about the facts of life; it’s just a really hard thing to do. I really think children have to be curious and ask their parents the questions, so the parents can have the confidence to give them the right answers. In my opinion, a father should talk to their sons about sex and the facts of life, while mothers should talk to their daughters. This way it would be much easier to describe how it all feels for each gender. It might be awkward for parents to give their kids “the talk” because it’s hard to find a way to describe things without being so graphic. It might also be difficult for parents to talk to their kids because the question might come up out of nowhere and they might not have the answer at the time. It might be hard for a child to ask their parents because they could be afraid of their parents’ reactions. Some parents might start explaining to them, while others might ignore them or tell them that they are too young to understand or to know these things. I think that if a child were to ask any question concerning the facts of life or sex, the parent shouldn’t hesitate to give them an answer. For me, I think a parent should give “the talk” between ages 11 and 13 because that is when I think kids go through peer pressure and start learning about these things at school. Is It Easier Being a Boy or a Girl? By Daniel Diaz
To me, to be honest, neither being a boy nor being a girl is easier because
neither one leads an easy life. I can say this from observing the world in which I
live in and the stories that my friends confide in me. I am the only boy in my
extended family, which is here in the U.S. and I can say from experience that
both genders lead equally hard lives.
I was raised alongside all my girl cousins from my dad’s side of the family.
From the very minute I was born to my most recent breath, I have watched them
grow from little innocent girls to these mature adolescent ladies. Throughout
these years, I’ve seen them suffer, go through pain that one cannot begin to
imagine until one feels it and can empathize with them, as well as seen them go
through hardships that were no easy wall to climb. These observations allow me
to conclude that they have led hard lives.
As I am a male, it would be easy to simply say that boys lead a harder life. As a
boy, I am expected by my father and the rest of my uncles to act tough, to be a
strong pillar that will somehow hold the weight of supporting the family when the
time arrives. They expect me to be strong physically and spiritually as well,
sturdy in emotion. I am also expected to be hard, have a hard shelled heart to
avoid having my feeling leak out easily and to somehow be athletic in some
sport. My family has forever told me that I can be and do as I wish to be or do,
but deep inside, I know that my father wishes me to be more into machinery as
he is or at least into some sort of engineering. I have tried my best to understand
that process through cars, but I have failed to get hooked on its concepts. My
dad likes to mess around with his car and truck, but it just bores me. It is not my
strongest side, yet deep inside, they expect it of me. My strongest hand is in art,
writing, poetry, math and science.
This seems hard to me, but if I compare it to what my cousins have to go
through, it is almost equal. My cousins, as expected by their mothers, are
supposed to be feminine, suppose to be strong, but fragile. They are to stand
high with respect and not to be looked down at as whores or sluts or tramps, yet
are expected to somehow find the right guy. As anyone knows, to find the right
person to be with, you need to be with others, and as girls, they cannot be with
as many guys as they wish, because they might get looked down on as sluts.
They are given order, after order that contradicts each other and simply serve
only to confuse my cousins. I’ve seen my cousins cry because of what my aunts
have said and because of what they’ve gone through. Sometimes I look back at
my own pain, and I think “maybe my pain isn’t as great as theirs.” I won’t ever
know the answer to that, because all of us lead very hard lives at some point in
time. We are all pressured by our parents; they say they don’t want more from
us, but they have their own pressures and it adds to our burdens.
One can’t simply say who has the easier life because whenever we see
someone who isn’t struggling as much as we are at that precise moment, it can
easily be said that they have the easier life. And yet, the burdens that person
carries are not any less than your own. Until we have walked a mile in the
opposite gender’s shoes, we cannot say and even have the capability to say
which gender has the easier life. The true fact is that we all have a hard life.
My Best Human Relationships, Maria Cortez
One of my best human relationships is between my nieces and me. They are from
oldest to youngest: Jackie (12), Karen (11), Carmen (10), Dulce (8), and Emma (5). They
don't see me just as an aunt, but as a role model, a friend, and a big sister. They follow
me and love spending time with me. I sometimes give them advice as they are growing
up such as going through puberty. I remember that one day from school, and remembered
seeing my niece, Jackie different. She was starting to develop, but she didn't notice. So I
went and told her to meet me in my room and to bring my other older nieces, Karen and
Carmen. We discussed about our bodies and how we change in our adolescence. I also
talked about our monthly problem, in which it freaked them out, but understood it.
Whenever I want to do something, they also want to join in. When I bake cookies
or cakes, they always want to help me out. Since they are still between the ages of four
and eleven, they want to play games with me such as "Little School" or tag and many
other little kid games. Since I have five nieces, it’s fun to play volleyball or tag in the
backyard. I know it sounds so childish but I like playing kid games at times. I don't mind
acting like a little kid when I'm with them, because I feel that when I'm around kids, my
inner kid comes out. Even though they live in the basement and I live in the attic, we also
have small slumber parties in my room.
We're like sisters, the ones that I have always craved. I am the youngest of all my
siblings and I hate being alone, so my nieces all keep me company. I do have an
advantage by being the youngest in my family because I get to have less responsibility
than my five older siblings and I have more freedom.
Sometimes it's a bummer to have a lot of nieces because when I go shopping, to
the movies or to my brothers houses, they all want to come along, and it's hard for me to
take them because it's too much of a responsibility and, I have a limited amount of money
to spend on all of them. I recently went to see the new movie Transformers; most of them
wanted to go but I didn't have enough money to take them and they stayed behind. I felt
bad, but I made up for it by buying them lots of chips and candy; we had like a mini party
right after I came back from the movies.
It makes me happy when they tell me, "Carmen you're the best!" or "You're the
best aunt ever". Surely we have our small differences, disagreements, and arguments, but
its normal in a relationship to have these elements, but it wouldn't be a good relationship
without communication. I am just thankful to have all of them in my life because without
them I would be alone in this world. I just love my nieces!
Trouble, Cristina Lopez
It was in middle school, the end of the day and the class was acting up. Some
students were throwing crayons. The teacher, Mr.Piño got really mad and started to yell
at everyone, “Everyone be quite, now!” but no one paid attention. He said that if we did
not clean up we were going to stay after school. I was sitting in a group of four; in my
group were Martika, Ruben and Alex. Martika, Alex, and I cleaned up the mess from our
side of the table, but not Ruben. The teacher came by to look at the table to see if we
cleaned up, he just looked at the table and turned around and said, “You stay.” He said
that the whole table had to stay after school to clean up. I was shocked because I had
cleaned up and was not throwing crayons and now I had to stay. I was so mad because it
was my first time in middle school being in trouble and having to stay after school. We
were the only group who stayed. The worst part of all was that my mom came to school
because she wanted to know why I stayed late. She was by the window of the classroom
and I could see that she was mad because her eyes just looked right through me, she did
not even blink. The teacher went outside to talk to my mom and he told her the whole
The teacher came back and told me to go outside, that I could leave but I did not
want to go because I was going to hear my mom talk a lot and get mad at me. We did not
talk until we got outside the school and walked down the street. She was the first one to
speak and when I looked at her, her eyes looked so mad and disappointed with me. She
spoke in Spanish and I answered in English.
“You know better than throwing crayons, you are not a child no more, and how
could you do this?” We were in the crosswalk and a small dog and its owner passed us
going the opposite direction. I tried to talk but she did not let me. When I open my mouth
she would say “I am not finished. This is very bad for you, this could go on your record”.
It didn’t really go on my record, but I didn’t say anything, I just let her talk. Then we
passed Harrison park where the trees were covered in leaf buds.
“So what do you have to say for yourself?” We pass by some stores now like
Supermercado Guzman, Pizza Nova, and we were by our house.
Finally I could talk,“I didn’t do anything; I would tell you if I did something, but I
didn’t; you know I don’t lie to you”. We were by our block on Cullerton already and
nobody was outside yet.
She was shaking her head and said, “Then tell me what happen.”
“Some of my other classmates and I cleaned up, but one person didn’t, so we all
had to stay”. She was still thinking until we were inside the house and she said “I believe
Finally she believed me; I was happy again because I was not going to get in
trouble, but also mad because she did not let me explain at first. It was all over and I did
not want this to happen again. I hated the fact that she was mad at me, but I hadn’t done
anything, and she hadn’t let me talk at all. I hate when she is mad at me, I feel so bad that
I make her feel upset, but this time there was no reason to be mad because I did not do
anything. I always want my parents to feel proud of me, and when I don’t, it makes me
feel so sad that I could not do better for them.
Best Relationship, Erica Roman
My best human relationships are usually with my closest friends. My friends are
people I can trust and have fun with. I feel that I have a very close and personal human
relationship with one of my best friends named Fatima. She’s a short, dark skinned and a
fun person with an awesome personality. I met her in high school during the end of my
freshman year and we bonded instantly because whenever either one of us talks about
something that has occurred in our lives, the other one can easily relate to it instantly.
One morning in school we were sitting down and she began to tell me about her
sister Nancy getting on her nerves when she came back from her university because she
missed them so much and always wanted to hug them especially Fatima. We both began
to laugh and I told her that my sister Maira had also just arrived from Dominican
University for break and how she was getting on my nerves too because Maira always
wanted to be around me and know what I was doing.
Fatima and I have known each other for almost two years now and she already
knows most of my life story as I know hers. She has been right next to me during good
and bad times. When my older brother got in a car crash I told her what happened and
how scared I was and she immediately tried comforting me. She told me about the time
her cousin’s husband had also been in a car crash and she was very worried for days.
Then we both stared at each other and began another conversation because we saw in
each other’s eyes how much pain it caused us.
If I ever have a problem I call her because she can always help me through it
when I feel like I don’t have anyone else to talk to. Sometimes, we even dress alike
because we wear the same color scheme clothing. At first we didn’t notice but one
morning when we were at our locker, our division teacher asked, “Did you guys plan on
wearing the same clothes today?” We surprisingly looked at each other’s outfits and
began to laugh because we were wearing the same brand clothing, with the same colored
shirt and jeans, even the same shoes. Many times we have even been asked if we’re
sisters because we’re always together. My best friend, Fatima is a very funny, clever and
trustworthy person.
Facts of Life, Mariana Chavez I never questioned the facts of life or how babies were made when I was younger. I guess I always assumed women got pregnant because they simply wanted to be. I always knew how babies were delivered because I had seen my older sister going into labor when my nephew was born. I didn’t stick around to see the whole birth, but I knew where it was coming from. It wasn’t until I was about 8 years old and I was watching Animal Planet where I saw Lions trying to mate. Later in the show they talked about the female being pregnant and having cubs. I tried to relate it to humans, and my mom helped me connect the dots with sex and babies. She explained the difference between sex with humans and sex between animals. I was bewildered with the fact that lionesses had more cubs than humans had babies and were pregnant less time. I questioned “if it’s only one baby why does it take so much longer to develop?” After plenty confusing questions and answers between my mother and I, I finally had a good idea of what sex was and “where babies came from”. I was a bit shocked but not as disgusted as if I would have been if I knew how sex was preformed. As for a reaction to sex, the only thing that made me feel awkward towards sex was that Animal Planet made it seem as if the lion was almost raping the lioness, and I wondered if my dad treated my mom like that. I asked my mom about it and with a giggle at my innocence she said, “Sex is something that happens when you are in love and married to a man or a woman and it’s something beautiful.” She obviously didn’t want me to be anywhere near having sex or even thinking about it so she emphasized sex was not allowed until I was married. I never truly pondered on sex before that until my sex education class freshman year in high school. I always wanted to avoid speaking about sex with anyone. I felt that sex wasn’t right until married and since I wasn’t I felt dirty even mentioning it. I had an impure feeling and was shocked as I got older how freely people spoke about it. As time went by I got a lot more used to it and noticed it was only another thing your parents would like to prevent you from doing even if they can’t control it, and I respected that. I always tried to not sound immature when speaking of sex and pregnancy and on the contrary I’ve always been pretty mature around the whole topic. Although altogether I never had scary experience learning about sex, I don’t believe there’s any easy way to learn about it, much less to teach about it. I’m positive my parents feel fortunate that they never had to thoroughly explain anything and me learning mostly all I know from sex education and of course, Animal Planet. The Story of My Birth, Daniel Diaz
It had been a long hard day; it was after all, the Fourth of July. We had spent the
whole day outdoors in a park near a lake up north with my family. We spent the whole
day making and eating carne asada, hamburgers and hot dogs, and talking and swimming
in the lake. I was tired and my shoulders ached from caring all of my cousins to and from
the deep parts of the lake to the shallow ends. Sure they could all swim, but I guess they
loved me so much, that they enjoy playing around with me. In this game, I was a ferry of
some sort. Apart from being tired and sore, I knew that I had to finish the homework that
Mrs. Strong-Dowd had given us. I hate not having my homework done on time, so I
sucked in the pain and when we got home, asked my mom to tell me the story of my
In my room, my comfortable cool room, I was lying on the bed waiting for her
response. I knew she was going to take some time to recall that day, so I decided to go
into the kitchen and grab a cookie that I had been craving since I first stepped foot in the
house that night. I bit into it, savoring the sweet chocolate and vanilla taste and its creamy
center. The whole cookie was in perfect harmony, leaving only the after taste of
chocolate; I slowly chewed the last few bits.
I walked back into my room; it’s fairly plain and always has been. I’ve never been
a fan of putting things on my walls like posters or anything. After all, I only use the room
for sleeping and resting. Back in my room, I layed down again on the soft bed and
grabbed one of the pillows to support my head. Mom was gathering her thoughts, and
then she finally began with a serious, motherly voice, a voice that allows you to take in
the full effect and seriousness of what’s being said. Before she could speak, my dad
walked in, glanced around and right before my mom could asked him a question, he
turned around and left as if he’d never been there. It’s odd, I thought, I often do the same
thing, walk into a room and then leave because the initiative to be there was lost and the
reason for being there has disappeared into thin air.
“It was Wednesday,” she began “and I went to the hospital because the doctor the
day before had told me you were due that day. When arriving, there was movement all
around, preparations for when I went into labor and the time for you to be born. The
whole day went on like that, with machines here, a bed there and doctors and nurses
doing what doctors and nurses do. The next day, I was supposed to go into labor, yet I
had no signs of pain or contractions. I was put next to this machine that measured the
amount of pain that was supposed to be there, but for me, it never showed anything. That
night, they gave me a shot to start my labor. The pains began as well as the contractions,
but for some odd reason, you still showed no signs of coming out. I spent the next night
and day in labor, and eventually, I just couldn’t take the pain anymore. It was too much
and for such a long time. I asked the doctor to give me another shot to numb the pain. He
inserted a needle into my spine and “poof,” the pains were gone instantly.
“Even with the pains gone, you wouldn’t come out. Even after I had pushed and
pushed. That Friday afternoon, the doctor came into my room and said I had to be rushed
into surgery and get a C-section or else you could’ve died. My water had already broken
about a day before, and there were little to no fluids left inside me to keep you alive.
Your heart rate was irregular. There were times when it sank really low to a point where
we thought you’d passed away because it was barely readable, and sometimes it was
normal, but still lower than what it should’ve been. I was afraid that you’d die right there.
“During the whole process, I was half conscious of what was happening because
of the drugs they gave me, but once they had cut me open, the reason why you hadn’t
been born became very clear. The umbilical cord had been wrapped around your neck
and was holding you back every time I pushed to let you out.”
I hadn’t said anything and was entranced by what my mother had to say, but the
thought of having almost died was vivid to me, even if it had been sixteen years earlier,
the thought of dying in my mom’s womb was clear; no shivers went through me, but it
shook me up a bit. Now death didn’t seem far anymore, more like a distant old friend
who was there at my birth, waiting to take me if I had failed to survive. Sure it sounded
depressing in my mind to think of death being so near, but somehow it lit up inside of me,
how I’d been able to survive the umbilical cord that had been choking me every time my
mom pushed for nearly a day.
“After the doctor had you out, he gave you to me to hold and I saw you alongside
me with your dad. I felt happy, overjoyed to have my first-born son. It was one of the
greatest moments in my life. It was a blessing from God himself to have given me the
strength to overcome this and for blessing you with the patience and strength to keep
alive even when you had the umbilical cord around your neck. I had a miscarriage before
I had become pregnant with you. He could’ve been your brother if he had lived” She said
this and got quiet for a minute. My mom’s side of the family has always been more
emotional. Even with the years that had passed since her miscarriage, I guess one can’t
ever go through life without feeling sad that they lost a child.
In a softer voice she said, “You were a blessing that day, unlike any other day, the
day you were born was special. Maybe not to others, but to me, it was the day that you
entered your father’s and my life. It was Friday, April 7th, 1995, at 6:12 p.m. that you
were born.
“Soon after though, they took you away from me and put you into care in the
infirmary because you had some signs of an infection which was probably due to the
bunch of drugs that were used to numb the pain and start my labor. Still the whole
weekend I could only see you through a glass window as I saw you resting from the
efforts of a struggle to live life and recover from the infection you had. I used those two
days to recover from the surgery and on Monday, I was able to carry you in my arms. The
infection had passed. To their surprise you recovered quickly.”
I just smiled, but I tried to hide it, because this little bit of information would
explain why I recover from injuries and illness faster than others. She looked at me and
smiled. “A blessing you were that day and a blessing you still are today.”
I learned the story of my birth that night, a Fourth of July, with fireworks
crackling and booming off in the distance and right in front of my house. Astonishment
still filled me, knowing that I might have died the day of my birth, but a new found
reason to help me through the rough times in life now appeared. If as an unborn child, I
had the will to live, why should I ever be depressed or want to die when things get rough.
I’m older and I have more strength now, death is but an old companion who was at my
birth waiting for me but whom left, thanks to God.
My mom got up and brought in my birth certificate; I had never seen it until
tonight. I was filled with joy; I savored every moment, every second that I held it. Just as
a little boy would savor a snickers bar that his mom had just bought him.
I handed it back to my mom and gave her a goodnight hug because I now had
newfound respect for her. She had saved my life by telling the doctor to perform a Csection. Back in my room, I still ached with the annoying pain in my shoulders and
turned off the light. I maneuvered around to my bed and turned down the warm, soft,
cloudlike blanket and slipped in. I grabbed my pillows, one for my head, one behind my
back and one in between my legs. I closed my eyes and thought of the amazing time I had
with my family, of the great adventures I had with my 8 little cousins all under 10 years
of age. I stayed in a space of sleep and thought and reality, reflecting on what my mom
had told me that night. All I could think of was being happy, filled with joy. It had been a
long time since I felt this, a warm feeling whose warmth went through me from head to
toe and from spirit to body. I hugged my pillow tighter and smiled. It was about time I
went off to sleep. had a new appreciation for all mothers out there, all of whom had their
stories to tell their kids one day about the day they were born. All the moms who were
probably telling or had already told my friends of their births, since of course, it was a
homework assignment. I suppose I’ve never liked having homework, but this assignment
must be one of the best that I’ve had so far. I dozed off to sleep.
Photograph by Daniel Diaz (UB Photography Class, Summer 2011)
My Birth, Maria Cortez
Before I entered my mother’s room, I started to feel scared about her reactions; I
was going to ask too many personal questions. I took a deep breath and went inside. I
could feel the dramatic battle between the cold and the hot as I entered the room. Luckily
she was already awake because of all the loud noises my brothers and father were
making out in the kitchen. I asked her, “Ma, tiene tiempo de contestar unas
preguntas?” (Ma, do you have time to answer some questions?).
She nodded a tired head, and said, “Si mija.” (Yes)
I took a seat on the edge of the bed and asked her, “Por cuanto tiempo estuvo en
parto?” (For how long were you in labor?).
She rubed her eyes and started thinking and said, “Estuve por casi cinco horas sin
complicaciones” (I was in labor for about five hours, with no difficulties).
My father came in her room and got cokes for my brothers. I could hear my
brother’s laughter out in the kitchen and Dad left without saying anything.
“Tuvo medicamentos o procedimientos especiales?” (Did you had any special
procedures or medications?), I asked.
After a short time of contradictions, she came into a conclusion.
“No, no tuve nada de eso” (No I didn’t have anything like that)
This is what she told me. I was born on a chilly Thursday night, with a lot of
traffic on the way to the hospital. My siblings, Emeterio, Ruperto, Amado, and Joaquin,
were supposed to be sleeping, but Amado was anxious to know about my mother’s health
and my birth. The rest did not care much and my sister, Emma, was working. On
September 8, 1994, at around 8 pm, I was born.
My mother has this tradition of picking the name of her children from the calendar and
giving them the name of the saint whose feast day falls on her kid’s birth date. My name
was supposed to be Maria Concepcion, but my mother was so disoriented that she called
my siblings for help and they searched for the name on the calendar. My sister refused to
look on the calendar because she was jealous of me; she wanted to be the only girl. I
smiled at the silly statement.
“Yo le tengo mucha fé a la virgen Maria del Carmen, y pues te puse ese nombre”
(Well I was so devoted to the virgin Maria del Carmen and I liked the name and decided
to name you after her, just without the “del“ so your name would not be that long).
“Quien mas estuvo en el cuarto?” (Who else was there at the delivery room?).
“Pues tu Papa y tu prima Felix por que ella estaba transleando en ingles por que
nosotros no sabiamos. Y por supuesto el doctor y las enfermeras.” (Well, your father was
there and your cousin, so that she could translate for us, since we only speak Spanish.
And the doctor and nurses of course)
“Que hizo cuando yo naci?” (What did you do when I was born?).
She smiled and said. “Cuando tu nacistes te escuche clarito decir “Mahh” y el
doctor no te tuvo que pegar para que lloraras. Te limpiaron y te empece a abrazar y me
llene de alegria.” (When I heard you cry I could clearly hear you say “Mahh” and the
doctor did not even have to spank you in order to make you cry. They cleaned you up and
I started to hug you and happiness spread all over me).
My father came in the bedroom again and I asked him, “Que hizo usted cuando yo
naci?” (What did you do when I was born?).
He started to think and in his drunken voice he stuttered, “Estuve feliz de verte.
Cuando te carge me alegre por que eras mi ultima niña” (I was very happy to see you.
When I held you I became emotional because you were the last baby girl).
I smiled again and asked him, “Que estaba pensando cuando yo naci?” (What
were you thinking at the time?).
“Pense en darte un buen futuro y tu bien estar” (I thought of giving you an
education and the best for you. Just like your siblings).
“Cuando las enfermeras te miraron como te movias se quedaron sorprendidas.
Como movias tus manitas, tus ojitos chinos y mucho pelo negro y largo que tenias. Eras
como una muñequita” (The nurses were amazed at your movement, the way you moved
your long hands, your little Chinese eyes, and specially the bunch of long dark hair you
had. You were like a little doll).
We all start to laugh and I turned to the wall where a baby picture of me hangs.
My father left the room and went to the kitchen to cook. My mother said that it is a
blessing to have a baby, but painful too. It changed both of my parents’ lives when they
first had a baby because it brought them more happiness along with responsibilities and
more work. I closed my notebook and put it aside. I helped my mother get up from bed
and then I hugged her. We both smiled and joined my dad and brothers, Ruperto and
Amado, at the kitchen; where they were cooking carne asada on the Fourth of July.
My Best Human Relationship, Denise Arevalo
I have a good relationship with my grandma because she is the person I have
looked up to as I was growing up and I still look up to her. My grandma is like another
mother. She took care of me throughout my young years of life. I did everything with her
and she taught me so many things – how to sew on the sewing machine, how to cook, and
how to pay attention to others when they are trying to get help.
One thing I remember the most is my grandma teaching me how to make
homemade tortillas. It was a fun day because I was messing with the flour mixture. My
grandma, Mama Maya, showed me how to prepare it in my hand first and how to put the
tortilla on the hotplate. On my first try my tortilla was folded and was over lapping with a
lot of bumps, and my tortilla was a mess. By the second try I made my tortilla perfect like
the ones she makes.
Mama Maya answered questions that my own mother wouldn’t answer, and she
wouldn’t leave me hanging with the question. She is the person that I am always happy to
see because she listens to things I say that nobody else knows. Sometimes Mama Maya
even tried to convince my mom to lift my punishments or she let me go somewhere when
I was usually not allowed to. I look up to her because she always tried to have her
grandchildren close to her.
Right now there is some difficulty in seeing my grandma because of some family
problems that have accrued during these recent years. I don’t exactly know the problems
that my dad and his family are having, I just know that it is from will that she made. The
anger that my dad has and that has caused him to be disconnected from my grandma is
that she did not treat all of her children equally. She left four of them out of her Last will
and Testement.
Not seeing Mama Maya for a long time hurts me because I get along better with
her than with my other grandma. It bothers me that my dad is not talking to her and that
has caused us to grow apart. This is the best relationship I can describe and the person
that has helped me through a lot of hard times in my short life.
Trip to Marquette, Cristina Lopez
I think the field trip to Marquette University was great and I liked the college a
lot. The university was so nice and beautiful. The campus was beautiful because it has
lots of nature; there were so many trees that in the summer or spring time you could go
outside and sit under a tree and study there or do your homework or hang out with
friends. The inside was also nice. It looked so clean and modern; all the furniture looked
brand new. Also the neighborhood looked attractive and safe. Most of all, the university
has the things I want to study -- health care or education. I want to be an elementary
school teacher or a pediatrician, but I still don’t know. I really liked this school and will
apply there. I liked this school because it’s not too far or too close to Chicago. I really
liked Marquette University and hope to go there one day.
Photograph by Maria Cortez (UB Photography Class, Summer 2011)
Elize Dominguez
It was a very hot evening and I just got home from school. My mom was already
lounging on the couch watching TV with a big bag of potatoes chips. The AC was on and
she had her hair up with a thin blanket over her. I dropped my bag, slipped off my shoes
and socks, and went to sit next to her.
"Mom, how was I born," I asked during commercials.
"Well...you were supposed to be born on May 3rd. you were a week late. It was
about one in the morning on a rainy Tuesday when you were born. I was in labor for
eight hours,”
"Whoa" I laughed at her and reached for a chip. “What else?"
"Uhm, you were born with clubbed feet. You know like Tommie’s from the
Rugrats. So the doctors took you away quick to examine you. Your father and I had to
make a very tough decision that day, to decided whether or not to put casts on your feet
to straighten them out,"
"Well did you?" I asked curiously. The commercial break was over and her show
back on, but she ignored it and laughed "Obviously, but it didn’t really work, so after
nine months of having the casts we decided it was time to just have the foot operation.”
She got up slowly removing the blanket and walked across the room to our wooden
cabinet. She pulled out a white object, shaped like a cylinder.
"These were your casts" she handed it to me "I saved one from the he nine months
that you needed to wear them.” It was kind of heavy but very small. I was surprised that
I actually wore casts when I was that little, I didn’t think it was possible for an infant to
wear casts. I stared at my feet and the scars all along my heels, somewhat of a straight
line that was fading and stretched to the other side of my foot. I had known about the
surgery for as long as I could remember, but I never really paid much attention to it, or
realized how serious it could have been.
"That’s how you got those scars," she smiled at me and sat back down. She was
warm and her face had a soft smile, she hugged me. "But now I’m glad you're here," Her
voice was so comforting. I just laid back and watched the TV with her.
My best relationship, Leslie Peralta
It was November 2, 2008, a perfect day to walk to Chopin Park, a perfect day to just
walk around the park watching other people play soccer. That’s when my best
relationship stared with Rodrigo Ascencio It was like a chemistry we had since that day
that we met at the beginning of 8th grade. We walking together, side by side, talking
about each other’s lives and just laughing and flirting back and forth until he held my
hand and pulled me towards him. We looked in each other’s eyes.
Ever since that walk in the park there was nothing that could keep us apart; we did
everything together. We went to all of each other’s soccer games, to Six Flags, to parties,
to see new movies and to family cook outs. We have had our ups and downs but it never
goes beyond a few words. We have a lot of trust in each other and try not to be jealous
with one another.
Today I can proudly say we have a wonder family with a 3 month old baby Kealy
Camilla Ascensio. We had to go through a lot, like telling my parents and his mom that I
was pregnant, planning what to do with our lives when the baby was born, and deciding if
we should continue school or not. He is still there for me to support me while I go to
school. He works and helps me with the baby, and he comes to my house to help me take
good care of her. He was with me during my labor and the 3 days I was in the hospital
after her birth. After all that , we have a great relationship with even more trust and more
communication and even more love. Does have been the best 3 years I have ever lived
with him crying, laughing, fighting, and smiling has been the best relationship ever.
My Birth, Martika Tapia
It was a hot day, too hot to even go outside, so we stayed in and sat down letting
the cool air of the air conditioner hit every room. Since there was basically nothing to do,
I decided to ask my mother some questions.
“Mama, I’m going to ask you questions. Okay? It’s for school… okay, ma,
okay?”. I didn’t even let her answer; I grabbed my back-pack and took out the papers. I
acted all professional and smiled at her telling her, “ Ma, sorry if this might be awkward;
its just for a class and I--”
She didn’t let me finish, “ Yeah okay come on, what are the questions?” she
looked at me, relaxed and seated on the sofa with a cold glass of water in her hand.
I took a pen out and a blank sheet of paper and then the questioning began. “So
Mommy… this is awkward... Ha-ha okay, so for how long were you in labor?” my mom
was thinking. At first she said 2 days but she said she wasn’t sure. My dad came into the
room looking for his keys. Then my mom asked my dad, “Hey for how long was I in
labor?” my dad was thinking as well, “I think three days you entered the hospital like in a
Monday… gave birth Thursday.” I was surprised at how long my mom was in labor three
days that’s so much; I was like my mom went through so much pain…“Next question.
Were there any difficulties?” she answered that question pretty fast with no hesitation,
“HA were there any difficulties… plenty!!! I lasted three days of labor, there was a
blockage in my vagina, so then you couldn’t come out, and so they cut it. It was like a
rubber that made you bounce back. Then later I got scared that you were dead because
you came out premature and weighed 5 pounds and 3oz born 6 months. You lost weight
and gained it back. You wouldn’t cry when you came out. There was a lot to be worried
about then I had no one with me when I was giving birth”.
I didn’t know how to respond to that, I was in shock to hear that no one was with her
when she gave birth to me; she must have been scared, I know I would have been,
She right away answered “yes”.
I paused and went back to the question list, “so were there any drugs or special
procedures? And where specifically was I born at?”
A he was looking at me, “There are a lot of questions you have, okay. Yes there were
drugs used; they put one in the back of my spine put some medicine in my IV. I had to
stay a little more when you were born. I had high blood pressure; and they put me in my
own room. The hospital you were born in was… I forgot. I know it. I know where it starts
with an M. Michael Reese!!!! You were born in Michael Reese. You were born October
13 1994, on a Thursday. At 2 am….” My mom continued on ad on without me even
asking her questions, “I was in the room and the doctors didn’t know what was wrong
with me, they didn’t know until finally they decided to stick their figure into my vagina
and said I got a blockage they need to cut that out. But when that was happening these
medical students were there as well observing me. I was so embarrassed; I was like an
open book to them or something. When they cut it I dilated normally now. By Thursday
you were finally coming out. My wound open bigger than usual but it’s because when
they cut that tissue it just opened. When you came out I didn’t hear no noise, no crying. I
was scared that you were dead. I was scared because I had a miscarriage and you, I didn’t
want you to die. I asked the doctors, ‘Doctor is my baby okay? I don’t hear no crying.’
They just told me what sex you were and they smiled and said everything is okay. I just
heard them doing so many things; I hear a lot of hitting. They were spanking you so that
way you would cry, they spanked you and spanked. I was wondering why they were
doing that. Then I heard you cry. I was glad I finally got to hear you.”
My mom was crying when she told me the last sentence, ‘I was glad I finally got to hear
you’. “When they put you I my arms I was looking at you and I felt like I was looking at
an alien, I smiled. I looked at how small you were. You could fit in my palm, and your
feet were so tiny. I was scared that you might not make it since you were premature. And
especially since you didn’t cry or move that much, you didn’t cry for food or anything
you were so quiet. They had to keep you there for like 4 days, but in 2 days you gained so
many pounds. You lost it of course but then gained it back. You were a fighter. A quiet
I smiled when she told me I was a quiet fighter, and then I asked her, “Mama why did
you choose my name? Why is it so significant?” She just told me she was watching
television and then she heard a Cuban singer named Martika sing so beautifully. She fell
in love with her name, and for the fact that it sound likes her name. She wanted like a
mini junior and she went along with Martika. I asked her how she felt on that day.
“ Well Monday I was working and I told Cecy my friend hats now your godmother to
take me to the hospital, that day it was cool and I like it. Then when you finally came out
I was relieved. Then when you came out of the hospital it was a joy. I felt the mother
instincts kick in. But boy when you have a baby, your life changes. You bring the baby
home and its all about the baby taking control of your life. You have to buy clothes, food
you don’t have time for yourself. But it is great to have you part of this family. It’s hard
but simple in the same time. I just wished I had someone to support me, but at least I got
you all to me when I gave birth. Later, your dad came in to visit you and me, and he felt
the same way his dad instincts kicked in. We were both glad. We just wanted to take you
home already. And I wanted to go home already.”
I was glad to hear all of this. I didn’t have to ask my mom questions she just answered me
right away. I did ask her a question, “what is my blood type?” and she looked at me. And
she said “sorry I don’t know, I forgot.” We laughed. The conversation ended when my
dad re-entered the room to bring in a movie and some popcorn.
Responses to two days of Relationships Residential Week Classes
Mariana Chavez
It really changed me to see how people’s lives are and how broken we all really are
inside. It really helped me grow and mature and to really listen to other people before
being prejudice. We all sat together at dinner on Thursday night and talked about how
much closer we really felt to each other, like a family.
Denise Arevalo
The class from Wednesday and Thursday was really meaningful. Before this class, I
really did not talk to everybody in the class. I now see how everybody is the same in one
way or
another. Everybody struggles. The class has helped me to view everything differently.
Life isn’t easy at all.
Leslie Peralta
It made me see how everyone has a loss or problems and they suffer. That class made me
understand my friends more and to become closer to them.
Piotr Sasara
Reading in front of everyone made us face whatever we were running away from and
what we were hiding from everyone around us. It had to take tremendous courage and
extraordinary honesty to write down how we felt at a certain moment or what we felt
towards someone. Being that honest, I think made us closer. It made us understand and
know each other so much better and now I won’t look at my classmates the same way.
Now I know that each of us went through or still go through something heartbreaking.
These are things that we hide from everyone, maybe even from ourselves.
Photograph by Juan Vargas (UB Photography Class, Summer 2011)
Kenneth Brito
The stories were most touching and brave.
Elize Dominguez
I could have never guessed how much we all have been through. We all grew closer to
each other after this week. We have trust in each other.
Jeremiah Natano
I was so proud of everyone. To be vulnerable, open and honest to everyone takes
tremendous courage. Everyone grew a bond toward one another and had totally different
perspective about each other. We found new, strong bonds and understanding with one
Martika Tapia
We all shared something that we couldn’t say out lout, but we did! We had courage.
Yeah, courage! It did hurt for us to say it out loud, but we said it. This energy just hit me
and I decided to read. Everyone had a heartbreaking moment. After we left class I felt
this bond with everyone.
Erica Roman
My classmates took me by surprise. I did not know how much everyone was holding
Daniel Diaz
Everyone has a lot of courage. We have all become closer. What I believe brings us
together is that common understanding of a deep and harsh emotion. Everyone trusts
each other so much, and to be honest, it’s the first time I’ve seen so many people
exchange such deep emotions with one another. I can trust everyone here, and say any of
the things that I’ve never told anyone at all. I think that we’re all amazing for having so
much trust in each other. We gathered so much courage – courage to trust and courage to
speak and courage to face our pain; that is what I found, pure courage.
Yesenia Villanueva
I now feel closer to everyone because I know something deep about them. I also see that
we all go through similar things. We all know each other better now and hopefully we
can get to know each other even more. I also hope that we can open ourselves to each
other more as well as trust each other.
Maria Cortez
I saw that people had the courage to speak about their suffering. I wasn’t sure about
expressing my real suffering to others, but I did. If they could do it, then I certainly
could, too. It was really hard to say it, but we all did it. We all had trust in each other. I
am very proud of my classmates and me for opening ourselves, for opening that door of
darkness and letting light go in. After our talks, I felt liberated; letting my pain go was
less overwhelming than keeping it to myself. I felt a bond with my classmates. I just
hope that nothing changes between my classmates and me because I surely appreciate
their support and company within me.
Photograph by Gaby Mejia (UB Photography Class, Summer 2011)
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