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‘If I can do it, they can too’: Kensington CAPA student leans on passions to stay positive during hard times

Editor’s note: This essay was submitted by a student at Kensington Creative and Performing Arts High School through a community partnership with Kensington Voice. The essay was developed from an autobiography assignment that Rebecca Mulligan assigned to students who speak English as a second language to improve their English proficiency.

I was excited to come to the United States because of new opportunities. I was most excited about going to school here because I like to study and learn. My top priority is school. Coming here was an important revelation for me because I discovered it was not what I thought. The sad reality of the United States influenced how I felt. I was disillusioned because it was really hard for me to adjust because of the different languages. I was bullied at the first school that I went to when I arrived here.

Things are a little different now. I’m starting to understand everything. I feel at peace, but I miss my people back in the Dominican Republic.

Since I came here in 2018, a lot has happened.

I had a dog named Doki, my chihuahua. My family had him since he was born. He would sleep with me all the time. In 2019, my aunt and cousin called me to tell me my dog was lost. We left Doki in their care when we came to the United States. He would always go out and come back, but one day he disappeared and never returned. It made me very sad, and I got a little angry. We never found him. Eventually, I got two new dogs, Chiquita and Coco. I still miss Doki, but I love my new dogs.

In 2020, it was a different Christmas than usual. There were some family members that I wanted to see, but I couldn’t.  I hoped that they would come and was sad that they couldn’t. The distance and COVID-19 kept us apart. That year was hard. I loved school and was upset that the pandemic disrupted my education. I missed seeing my friends.

Since then, school has gotten back to normal. My experience at Kensington CAPA was hard at first because I didn’t have friends. The language barrier and lack of chemistry with others didn’t make it easy. But then, the school brought me to the ESOL class. I got to see one of my classmates, Rosairis, who was at my other school. I didn’t talk to her much at our old school, but we got to know each other here. After that, I got to know other students like Victor, Yadriel, and Katiushka. Then I made a new friend, Issis. She came to school at the same time as my brother. Something changed in the beginning of the school year. Victor got moved into a different class. Then I got switched to his new class, and I got to see him again. I talked a little bit with him. I was happy to reconnect with him. I miss my old ESOL group because it feels like we separated a little.

I feel better now but still lack some friendships. I don’t really talk too much, but when people talk to me, I talk a lot, depending on the topic. We talk about how classes are going, anything to learn more about each other.

Music is a passion for me. When I’m sad, I listen to music. It’s a hobby that gets me out of the dark moments. I want to take singing classes to perfect my voice and find the right tone. I also like to act because it’s like living another life. You can have different personalities. I like to learn different stories. It feels very beautiful. I also like to write songs. I write about my own experiences, and I also create my own telenovelas.

I hope that people can one day follow my stories so my stories can inspire others.  They can learn that if I can do it, they can too. No matter their condition, they can achieve their dream. Don’t let other people put out your internal light because we all have something special in our hearts.

Editors: Siani Colón, Zari Tarazona / Designer: Siani Colón