Giving a final goodbye to ELD seniors: Q&A

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Giving a final goodbye to ELD seniors: Q&A

Mikaela Beberman

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Oliver Reyes:

Reyes moved to the U.S. from Quetzaltenango, Guatemala, as a sophomore. He went to Terra Linda High School, where he was inducted into the ELD program. At first, overcoming the language barrier and adjusting to American culture proved to be a challenge. However, when he came to Redwood his junior year and continued with ELD, Reyes felt his skills improve.

 

Q: What are your plans after you graduate?

 

A: I’m going to College of Marin. I want to transfer to UC Berkeley because I want to pursue architecture. Ever since I was little, I have loved seeing how houses are built or how blueprints are designed. I also want to study [architecture] because I want to help a lot of immigrants [since many come to the U.S. without a job].

 

Q: If you could change something about your experience at Redwood, what would it be?

 

A: That [Redwood] planned more social activities. If the people here socialized more with ELD students so that we feel more part of Redwood, or if we were more exposed to the school spirit, it would help us better understand the culture.

 

Q: What is a piece of advice you would give to new ELD students?

 

A: That they become more involved in activities at Redwood because they’ll have more opportunities to meet new people and adapt to the culture faster. Also, [it would be great] if ELD could create its own club, because usually, the students all go to a community college and it shouldn’t be that way. I feel that the same opportunities Redwood students have, ELD students can have.

Elmer Vicente-Mendez:

Vicente-Mendez joined the program two years ago. Like Reyes, he moved to Marin from Quetzaltenango in Guatemala. When he first came to the U.S., the ELD class helped him adjust to the culture shock and socialize with new people. At the moment, he doesn’t have any long-term plans for his future, as he is primarily focusing on improving his English.

 

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

 

A: I think I’m going to go to College of Marin and learn the skills I need to work at an auto body shop … I love to work with cars.

 

Q: If you could change something about your experience at Redwood, what would it be?

 

A: I would change the way I think, how I act toward others and believe in a brighter future for myself. I also want to practice thinking only in English. I think that with this mindset, I’ll be able to speak well in the future.

 

Q: What is a piece of advice you would give to new ELD students?

A: I know that we come from [Spanish-speaking] countries and we don’t know how to speak English. I would advise them to stick to the person who supports them; it’s important that they don’t leave them. If they stay with the person who’s helping them, they will improve their English.

Madu Vidal:

Vidal moved to the U.S. from Minas Gerais, Brazil, a state close to the Atlantic coast, her sophomore year of high school. She has been part of the ELD program for two years and is currently a TA for the class. Vidal also takes ELD Academic Workshop and recently obtained her certificate of fluency in English.

 

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

 

A: I’m going to College of Marin. I just want to get my general education ready and I want to be a high school teacher. I actually want to be an ELD teacher…[Ms. McCrea] is my major inspiration, of course. I used to work at a preschool in Brazil too and I always kind of loved that. Even here sometimes, during the summer, I also stay as a teacher’s assistant at a preschool in Tiburon. I just feel like it’s my passion.

 

Q: What is your favorite part of Redwood?

 

A: I’m going to say something that we don’t have in Brazil and that I absolutely wish we did, which is the Wellness Center. I feel like it’s so important to take care of your mental health and not a lot of people know about that. I have generalized anxiety disorder, so for me, it’s really hard sometimes to be in a classroom. Before coming to Redwood, I wasn’t able to get all the support I’ve been getting here.

 

Q: What is one piece of advice you would give to new ELD students?

 

A: Get involved with school. Don’t be afraid; everyone here at Redwood is f*****g awesome. I love this school and everyone here is super helpful. If you show your teachers you are trying really hard, they will not feel bad for helping you and you shouldn’t feel bad for needing help … Everyone needs help once in a while.