ELISA HERNANDEZ

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As a child no one liked the idea of moving to a new house. Doing so meant leaving the neighborhood I was familiar with, as well as my school and friends. I was eight years old, and it was not just moving to a new neighborhood, it was moving to a new country. Coming to the United States from Cuba was a blessing, but by doing so I had to leave it all. Friends, family, and my childhood had to be left behind so I could come to an unknown country with my parents and little sister.

Starting public school in this new country was terrifying because I did not know what to expect. Did anyone speak Spanish? Would I be able to understand what the teacher was talking about in class? All of these questions were running though my head before even stepping into the school. Due to my lack of knowledge about the English language, I was put in ISO classes.

All of the students there spoke Spanish as well as the teacher. Because of this it was easier to communicate in Spanish all together. This implies that classes and discussions would be in Spanish, and so was everything else. Through my entire year of fourth grade, I never learned any English because I would never need to use it in class.

The first year of school was also my first year of being in this country. When I would get home I would go straight to watching TV and ignore all of the school I had brought with me. The good studying habits that I had before were all gone because I found something new that I enjoyed.

At some point, my homework was not the only thing I was not doing. I started to not do projects and ignored my studies all together, and my grades reflected it.

After finishing fourth grade, my parents told me I was moving to a new school. This time I was going to be attending a private school. My parents would not be able to afford it, but thankfully I was accepted in to the Step Up program and was able to attend a new school that offered me great opportunities.

When the first day of class arrived, I soon realized that my teacher did not speak any Spanish. Throughout the year, it was a struggle trying to understand what he was teaching.

“This scholarship helped change my future for the better.”

While I was in this class I also had ISO classes, but this time I was able to learn and practice the language. Having ISO classes helped me with my normal studies and my teacher would always try his best to make sure I comprehended what he was teaching to the best his abilities and my own.

By the time I was in seventh grade, I was able to speak English fluently with no issues. Over the years, my English was not the only thing which had improved. My good study habits started to come back to me. Even though I had to go to summer school twice, I was able to get back on track with my studies and become a very strong student.

If it was not for Step Up giving me the opportunity to go to a better school, I would still be struggling with my English and studying habits. The scholarship gave me an opportunity that many do not get to obtain. Moving schools was one of the best things that has happened to me.

Thanks to La Progresiva and their teachers I have been able to grow as a student and as a person. New doors have opened thanks to school choice and the opportunities that it unlocks. Just like others, now I am able to share my story with the world that this scholarship helped change my future for the better.

BECOME A VOICE FOR CHOICE
BECOME A VOICE FOR CHOICE