Room 210

2004-2005 South Spotlight

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This page spotlights feature stories written by members of the 2004-2005 South Middle School Journalism Club.


SMS Assistant Principal Ms. Peggy Day, shown being interviewed by Room 210 Staff Writer Skye Smith, will retire at the end of the current school year.
Room 210 Photo by Katy Polen

Room 210 Staff Writer
   Ms. Peggy Day, assistant principal at South Middle School, is retiring at the end of the current school year.
   Ms. Day has been assistant principal here for two years and has been in the Joplin R-8 School system for 30 years.
   "I started school to be a principal about four or five years ago. It was sort of an end-of-career decision, but I'm glad I did it," she said.
   Before Ms. Day became assistant principal at South, she was working as an English teacher at Joplin High School.
   She said she has enjoyed being a principal, but she has had to adapt to the change from coming from a high school to a middle school.
   "I've enjoyed it very much," she said. "I enjoy the staff and the students here, but it took some getting used to because I was used to high school kids." Ms. Day says that what she does now is hard work, but she actually had to do even more work when she was teaching.
   Ms. Day will carry on in her career after she has retired, but instead of a working at a full time job, she will be working part time.
   "I've had some interviews for college teaching, so I'm thinking about doing that, but part time," she explained.
   Though Ms. Day will be leaving South, some memories she will never forget. "The good memories would be seeding kids turn around and do better," she said. But she also has memories from South that she will be able to look back on and laugh.
   "The times Mr. Mitchell and I had to make fools of ourselves, like me being in a football outfit and him being in a dress, and then, of course, us getting pies thrown in our faces, don't want to forget that."
   Ms. Day feels it is important that the students, as well as faculty, hang in there for the years to come.
   "Students, I expect to hear over the next six years that every single student in this building graduate from high school. Faculty, hang in there, your time will come."


Students showed their eggs to the judge during the annual TA Egg Drop Competition Thursday.
Room 210 photo by Noelle Kownslar

Room 210 Staff Writer
   The day finally came when we had to redo the TA Egg Drop. Everyone in Mr. Randy Turner's TA was doomed for we didn't have a shoebox (a requirement for the contest). All we had was a Kleenex box that was almost empty. We didn't know what to do. Mr. Turner, on the other hand, had some ideas.
   The first step was to see if we could get by with using the Kleenex box. So...Mr. Turner wrote on the bottom of the box "THIS IS A SHOEBOX, REALLY." Noelle Kownslar and I went down to the office and asked Mrs. (Jamie) Frazier, "Will this work?" She said, "No." And with that, our hopes went down.
   Thanks to Mr. Turner, who was full of ideas, we didn't give up. The next step was a bribe. So he gave Bethany Reed and me 50 cents and told us to go to the teachers' lounge with the Kleenex box. Down the hall we went, hoping it would work by Mrs. Hale once again said, "no." We ran back to the classroom and we were running out of time.
   We told Mr. Turner what had happened, and he came up with another idea. He put a shoe he had in the classroom in the Kleenex box. So, off Bethany and I went again down the hall making our way to the teachers' lounge with the 50 cent bribe in one hand and the shoe in the Kleenex box. Mrs. Hale said, "You can only get by if we break the egg before we throw it." Yeah, in what right mind are we going to let them do that?
   Running to the classroom again, we found Mr. Turner was ready with his next fantastic idea. He had a yellow piece of paper and a red pen. On the paper he wrote "IOU, one shoebox." We ran down to the teachers' lounge again with Ms. Reed waiting in the hall as I went in. I handed the note to Ms. Hale and Ms. Frazier both. I waited. Then Ms. Frazier said, "I was going to bring a shoebox today, but I didn't." Mrs. Hale, on the other hand, said, "I have a shoebox in my room on the bookshelf behind my desk, but you only have five minutes."
   Boy, did I shoot down the hall, running and telling Bethany the news. Then all of a sudden as we were turning the sharp corner, Bethany took a spill and fell from right under her very own feet! I don't think I have ever seen someone fall then shooting back on her own feet like that. We ran to the classroom to tell Mr. Turner. We told him where we were going.
   We ran down the stairs and went sliding into Mrs. Hale's room, snatching the shoebox. Everyone was staring at us, but I didn't care. We got to the classroom and we had TWO MINUTES! We grabbed the rest of the Kleenexes and wrapped them and taped the egg. Then we put the food section of The Joplin Globe around it. We crammed it into the Kleenex box, then put it in the shoebox, taped it with more tape and ran it to the teachers' lounge. All in five minutes. Whew, that was a close one!
   The next day, it was time to drop the egg. Looking up at the window...we waited for our egg to be dropped. Finally, it came out the wnidow. Bethany ran and grabbed the box. We tore it open and unwrapped it... and ohhhh the excitement and joy it brought to our faces. It wasn't broken.
   What a wonderful day it was!

Miss Maribel Chairez

Room 210 Staff Writer
   A new seventh grade math teacher has joined the staff at South Middle School.
   Miss Maribel Chairez, a former SMS student, joined the faculty at the beginning of the second semester. Miss Chavez also was a graduate of Joplin High School and Southwest Missouri State University.
   She has worked with seventh and eighth graders before (mostly eighth graders) in math and social studies, but now she just teaches seventh grade. Though Miss Chairez heard that she might have trouble with the students, she hasn't had any yet.
   Though Miss Chairez has been to South before, coming back as a teacher is a different experience. When she was a student, she thought the school was pretty big (and that even the half-lockers were big), but coming back as a teacher (and as an adult) the school doesn't really seem as big as she remembered.
   Welcome to South Middle School, Miss Chairez.

Mr. Jason Weaver

Room 210 Staff Writer
   Mr. Jason Weaver, seventh grade social studies teacher, was one of three South Middle School teachers nominated for the Golden Apple Award.
   "It was a great honor," said Mr. Weaver. "I guess I was...excited and...surprised. I didn't expect it. I'm always rewarded for doing what I love anyway."
   This is Mr. Weaver's third year at South Middle School. Being a teacher, he said, "has just been my life goal since the first day of kindergarten.
   What he enjoys about teaching, he said, is "getting to know the students, watching them grow up, and watching them become respectable young adults and knowing that I had something to do with that."
   Mr. Weaver makes a special effort to reach his students. "It's important that I show a lot of respect to my students and I have a good relationship with them," he said. "That helps me to teach them better."
   Mr. Weaver has a special message for his students, taken from Lord Chesterfield: "You must be respectable if you will be respected."

Ms. Joyce Wall

Room 210 Staff Writer
 Ms. Joyce Wall said shewas surprised to learn that she is one of three Golden Apple Award nominees from South Middle School.
   "Our school is full of wonderful teachers who make a difference in every one of their students' lives," she said. "It should be all the other teachers at South...but I am very thankful. This is a wonderful group to work for."
   This is Ms. Wall's second year teaching at South, but she had previous teaching experience. She taught 33 years in Oklahoma. She decided to become a teacher at an early age.
   "I had a teacher that flunked me in the sixth grade," she said. "She was not fair to kids that were a challenge, and that's when I decided that I wanted to become a teacher, to try to make up for what she did."
  Ms. Wall's favorite part of teaching is "seeing kids 'get it' because that's just so neat!"
   Every teacher has special qualities. Ms. Wall says her are "patience, understanding, listening, being fair and truthful."
   Her motto for teaching is "There are no kids that are mistakes; everybody has a purpose."

Mrs. Gayla Moss

Room 210 Staff Writer.
 Seventeen days from graduation to the start of a teaching career. That’s how fast things have been going for South’s new sixth grade block class teacher, Mrs. Gayla Moss, as she returns to South to be on the opposite side of the classroom.
   Teaching her favorite subject, Mrs. Moss replaced Mrs. Julie Mooney, who resigned to move to Kansas where her husband has taken a job.
 Sixth graders can be a handful, but Mrs. Moss loves teaching them.
Her classes are the only ones she has taught besides the first grade
class she taught during student teaching for one semester. The area of teaching has always been a life dream for Mrs. Moss.

SMS cheerleaders

South Middle School cheerleaders are shown during practice on Thursday, Jan. 6. They will be in action tonight (Jan. 10) when South plays at Memorial Middle School.

Brittany Harmon

Room 210 Staff Writer
   Joplin High School freshman Brittany Harmon's poem, "Invisible," has been included in the "Anthology of Eighth Grade Poetry," a national publication. A copy of the book is in the South Middle School library.
   Her poem was selected after being one of three winners in a contest at SMS last year. The other two local winners were Emily Evans and Sarah McDonough.
   "I was really excited and proud of it because I had never got a poem published before," said Brittany. "I"ve been writing since I was little and I got more interested last year and Mr. Turner helped me to improve."
   Brittany's inspiration for her poem was a close friend.
   She encourages other young writers to "keep writing and eventually you might be inspired to write something great."
   That's what Brittany intends to do and her former teacher thinks she may accomplish that. "Brittany has a world of talent and I hope to see more from her in the future," said Mr. Randy Turner, communication arts teacher.
  (Anyone who would like to know more about Brittany can visit her website, "My Thrilling Life," at A copy of Brittany's poem is featured on the South Alumni page of Room 210.

   Why does it hurt so bad to lose someone when you know they're going somewhere they want to be?
   I'm not talking about when people die, though it sometimes seems they have. Maybe it's just selfish to always want people there and expect them to never leave. It's hard to accept the fact that you know they will leave, and it makes you want to scream. But you know you can't, and you just keep to yourself and hope that you won't cry. You want so bad to make them stay, knowing if they did, they would always be safe.
   That's how I feel. You see, I have this friend that I first met through my sister. He was one of those friends in her group, and he was pretty cool. I started going to church with my sister when we were invited by one of her other friends, Kate, and after a while their whole group was going.
   I watched Daniel stop all of the things he used to do, like curse and make perverted jokes. He became a great, caring person who gave his heart to God. He was one of my role models, and turned out to be like a big brother.
   Then he got a job and didn't show up on Wednesdays very often. When I did see him, there wasn't much conversation, and he hardly ever talked to my sister. Then this past week, he came to church.
   When I first saw him, he was asleep on the game room couch. Later that same night, he told me he had joined the Marines and would be leaving next year.
   You may be thinking, "Big deal, you still have a whole year," but really I don't because I won't see him much and before I know it, he will be gone.
   It's like I will be losing a family member. He's leaving and I am afraid he will get hurt.
   He says he will come to Joplin when he can and visit, but I am not sure he will. Besides, there are a lot more people here he would want to visit, so I guess I will just fade into the background.
   So, in a way, it's like he is dying. Not to the world, but to me. I guess when it comes down to it, I will eventually have to let go. Maybe, after awhile, I will be over it and just look back at the good times.
   For now, I guess the only thing I can do is pray.

Room 210 Staff Writer
   Christmas time is here at last, meaning that the carols are playing and the bells are ringing. The stores have begun playing holiday music and people are putting up lights.
   Everyone has their own favorite Christmas songs. Mr. Ron Mitchell, South Middle School principal, said, "My favorite Christmas song is 'Jingle Bell Rock' because it's just always been my favorite."
   Both Ms. Sarah Anderson, secretary, and Ashley Kissee, eighth grader, say that their favorite song is "White Christmas."
   Eighth grader Adela Canales said that her favorite song is "The First Noel" because "it was the first Christmas song that I ever heard."
   Meanwhile, Noelle Kownslar said that she hates that song and that her favorite Christmas song is "Silent Night."
   Eighth grader Andrew Frost said that his favorie is "Carol of the Bells."
  Mr. Randy Turner, eighth grade communication arts teacher, said that his is "The Christmas Song" by Nat King Cole because "it is a beautiful song."
   Skye Smith, eighth grader, said that her favorite Christmas song is "Frosty the Snowman" because "Poor little Frosty melted and I love him and he will always be in my heart."

Room 210 Staff Writer
   It didn't take long for new eighth grade reading teacher Ms. Sheri Medlock to get used to South Middle School.
   "It's been really fun, especially since I was a student here at South in sixth and seventh grade, so it's been kind of fun to come back as a teacher.
   "It was really weird coming back to the building I went to sixth and seventh grade at," Ms. Medlock said. "At the time, Memorial was the junior high, so this was only sixth and seventh grade."
   Teaching is a new experience for Ms. Medlock. "This is my first year teaching," she said. It is also her first time working with eighth graders. "For my student teaching in college, I taught sophomores at Carthage High School."
  Eighth grade has been an adjustment. "I didn't think there was going to be that big of a difference, but it's a big difference."
   Every teacher has favorite paaaaarts of the job. "I really like reading," Ms. Medlock said. "I enjoy it. And I like sharing things that I enjoy. It seems that you guys seem to enjoy it, too."
   Some parts of South bring back memories for Ms. Medlock. "I think I had math in this classroom" she said. "I know I had TA in this classroom. I remember that."

Room 210 Staff Writer
   All of my life I had wanted to do something. This one thing is my dream. I worked hard, and that's all I ever really wanted. When I was in elementary school all I ever did was cheer. I made up cheers and I cheered them with pride.
   I wanted to be a cheerleader.
   When I came into middle school, something changed in me. I became more school spirited and more proud. When tryouts for seventh grade cheerleaders were brought up, I never tried out. I was too scared. What if I failed? Or fell? I couldn't possibly do it. It was bad enough being the babies of the school, let alone a girl who couldn't cheer. So I didn't try.
   That's something I regretted the most. That I didn't even try. I couldn't say I even tried. My friends asked if I had tried out. When I told them no, they couldn't believe it after how hard I had worked.
   When eighth grade year came around, I decided I was going to try out. All of my friends supported me and reassured me that I was making the right decision. So I prepared mentally and physically.
   I stretched as often as I could, and stayed positive. It boosted my confidence and my self-esteem. I knew I was ready for the tryouts.
   Cheer tryouts are portrayed to be a one-day, do-what-you-know type of thing. That couldn't be a bigger lie. When you come in for tryouts, it's a three-day tryout. The first day you see your cheer performed. There were about 50 girls, seventh and eighth grade combined. We spent the first two days practicing our cheer. The third day was the day we did our cheer alone in front of the judges.
   That day was the most nervewracking day I have ever experienced. Almost one year later, I remember getting my number and standing in a line with the rest of the girls outside of the auditorium. I couldn't see any of the girls who tried out before me or at least hear them.
   My number was finally called. I hesitated, then made my way through the door. I ran in and did a roundoff. I smiled, did my jumps, and started my cheer. It wasn't so bad. It was actually fun. After all of the girls tried out, we had to wait outside the school. We waited for what seemed like hours. Then the lists were posted, and we all scrambled to find our names. I found mine underneath winter squad and I automatically screamed. My dream had come true. I was going to be a cheerleader. Thanks to hard work, determination, and support, I'm living my dream.

Room 210 Staff Writer
   Many people in the country have diabetes and I am one of them.
   You may wonder what exactly diabetes is. Well, it has to do with your pancreas (an organ in the body) not producing insulin, which affects the sugar level in your bloodstream.
   There are two types of diabetes: TYPE I (insulin dependent) and TYPE II (which can be controlled by a pill and mostly occurs in adults).
   Having diabetes does not mean you can't have junk food (candy, pop, etc.). It just means you have to watch the amounts you eat.
   When you have diabetes, you may have to take two to four shots a day. It also means having to take your glucose (sugar) level on a small machine called a meter.
   A meter tells you and your doctor how much insulin to take.
   When my blood sugar is high I have to increase my insulin dosage. When it is low, I have to decrease it.
   Every three to four months, I have to go to a diabetes specialist as do many other people who live with diabetes. While I am there, the doctor checks my Hemoglobin A/C, which is a blood count level or average of the past three months.
   If you think living with diabetes is a fun and easy task, then you should try it.
   In time they (scientists) will find a cure for it. If not, then, I'll still be just another kid living with diabetes.


Room 210 Staff Writer
   Heartbroken. Fear. Empty.
   Those are the only words that come close to describing how I felt when my uncle left for Iraq. My eyes, my mother's eyes, and my grandfather's eyes filled with tears as he hugged and kissed us goodbye.
   David C. Cook, a field medic for the U. S Marines, is my unclde. He's more like my big brother, and I can only imagine how it feels for the other members of the family. I'm just very thankful that mine came back alive.
   People are very bitter when it comes to the war. They don't think we should be there, let alone this long. Some people don't know the whole story. That's why I'm here. I'm here to tell you, the accomplishments these brave men and women have made.
   Before now, women could not go to school in Iraq and had to be covered with veils. All of that has changed. Now, as we speak, schools are being built, and laws are being changed. No one knows what's really going on over there. We're over there doing great things, changing the people's lives. They will now have education, good jobs, and money that they need. They were once underprivileged people, now they are learning how to do things they never imagined. We are still there making a difference.
   All the while, we thought that the Americans were just there getting shot at, and shooting other people, they were really doing something extraordinary, something a lot of people don't know about...until now!

Room 210 Staff Writer
   Golden Apple Awards were presented during the annual Joplin Chamber of Commerce Banquet April 28 and though neither of South's finalists received the awards, both felt honored to be nominated.
   Mr. Randy Turner, eighth grade communication arts teacher, and Mr. Jason Weaver, seventh grade social studies teacher, were among the five finalists for the middle school award, which went to Ms. Linda Norwood, Memorial Middle School communication arts teacher.
   Mr. Weaver, who was nominated by his former students (now eighth graders) Brittany Richardson and Skye Smith, attended the banquet, and said he was honored to find out who nominated him and read what they had to say in appreciation of his teaching.
   "It means a lot to hear from someone that you're appreciated," said Mr. Weaver. "It's teaching. It's my job and it's what I've worked for. It means a lot to hear from a student that all the things I've done, all the things I've worked for, mean something to someone else."
   Mr. Turner, who was nominated by Lindsey Hamm, a former student who is now a ninth grader at Joplin High School, said he greatly appreciated Lindsey's nominating letter. "The part I liked best (about the banquet) was simply reading what Lindsey and her mother had to say about me. It was a very humbling experience."
  "To most teachers," Mr. Weaver explained, "it means more to be nominated than to win, because it means something more when it comes from a student who has been in your class and seen what you do than it does to be picked by people who have never been in your class, who don't know you."
   In Lindsey Hamm's eyes, Mr. Turner was already a winner of the Golden Apple. "The night at Memorial Hall when they gathered all the nominees together with the people who nominated them, she gave me a little golden apple, which meant more to me than the real golden apple would have."
   Mr. Turner, Mr. Weaver, and Ms. Joyce Wall, who was also nominated from South, were grateful to receive the recognition that came from being nominated for the Golden Apple Award.
   "I appreciate the people who nominated me," Mr. Turner said, "and the Chamber of Commerce for sponsoring the award. I know there are dozens of teachers in the R-8 school system who are deserving of a Golden Apple Award, and I'm just honored that someone thought that I belonged in those ranks."

Room 210 Staff Writer
   (Note: Seventh grader Kayla Hess was told just before spring break that she would have to undergo brain surgery this summer for cancer. See the story below this one.)
   Doing dishes one night recently the phone rang. I was depressed when I heard who it was. Hearing that voice made me remember way back before Christmas break when I found out I had cancer on my scalp. Melanoma is what I had.
   I lived through the break and all third quarter thinking that this summer I would have surgery and that would ruin my summer.
   The voice on the phone belonged to my doctor. I screamed when she told me the news. I'm cancer-free. She had mixed up my file withy another KNH cancer patient.
   Being a KNH (Kayla Noelle Hess) patient and there being another person with the same initials was scary. I am very sad that person has cancer, but at the same time, I have been so happy that I have been jumping up and down for joy.

Room 210 Staff Writer
   I got the call on Tuesday, Feb. 22.
   I wasn't expecting this; I have melanoma. Melanoma is a skin cancer caused by the sun. My cancer is now on my scalp. Yes, I do have hair and long, blond hair at that, so most of you are probably thinking, "How did the sun rays get through my hair?"
   I'm not sure myself.
   Yes, I am admitting I'm scared. I will have my surgery this summer and I can't just have chemo to get rid of it. I am in seventh grade and I don't know if I will live to be in eighth grade.
   My name is Kayla Hess...and I have melanoma.


Room 210's investigative reporter Skye Smith makes sure Mr. Randy Turner doesn't evade any of her probing questions.
Room 210 photo by Noelle Kownslar

Room 210 Staff Writer
   Mr. Randy Turner, eighth grade communication arts teacher, was one of three South Middle School teachers nominated for the Golden Apple Award.
   "I felt very honored and surprised since this is just my second year here and there are so many people in this school who are deserving of a Golden Apple nomination," said Mr. Turner
   This is Mr. Turner's sixth year of teaching. "I love teaching," he said. "I have never had a day when I wasn't excited about coming to work."
   Mr. Turner was always determined to be a teacher. "I decided when I was going to college that I wanted to teach," he said. "I have always liked working with young people, I had done a lot of coaching when I was a teenager, so when I had a chance to become a teacher six years ago, I jumped at it. Mr. Mitchell (South Middle School Principal Ron Mitchell) was good enough to hire me as a teacher at Diamond, and that's how I got started."
   Every teacher has a favorite part of teaching, including Mr. Turner. "The best part, I would say, is when I see students enjoying learning and having a chance to work with them and make it enjoyable for them."
   "When students come into my room, even on days when I'm grouchy," Mr. Turner said, "they know that there's somebody standing in front of them who really cares if they succeed or not."
   Mr. Turner said he felt good that someone appreciated his teaching enough to nominate him for the Golden Apple. "I feel it's an honor and I can't imagine a couple of better teachers to be nominated with," he said, referring to the other South nominees, Ms. Joyce Wall and Mr. Jason Weaver.
   Mr. Turner's message to his students is "Enjoy school and enjoy learning. You have some really good teachers who really care about you."

Ms. Caryn Deckard

Room 210 Staff Writer
   Ms. Caryn Deckard, special education teacher at South Middle School, has a tight schedule with every little bit of the school day filled up and that's just the way she likes it.
   "I have a TA, then first hour planning period, then in second and third hour, I have social studies and math and in fourth through seventh hours, I have reading," said Ms. Deckard.
   South is the first place she has taught at, she said. "I like the way they do things here." Ms. Deckard previously had worked as a teacher's aide in Georgia.
   Ms. Deckard has always known what she wanted to do with her life. "Since I was in kindergarten, I wanted to be a teacher," she said.
   Ms. Deckard lived in Chicago until she was 12, then she moved to Arkansas, where she graduated from high school. She attended Carthage College in Kenesha, Wis., then graduated from Missouri Southern.
   She has two children, Laura, 16, and Kayla, 14, who both attend school in Carthage.
   In her spare time, Ms. Deckard enjoys crocheting and loves reading, but she added, "I really don't have time for hobbies."

Room 210 Staff Writers
   Seventh and eighth graders at South Middle School know that communication arts teacher Mrs. Angela Mense is expecting a baby girl. Within the past week, she has started to get that baby waddle in her walk.
   Mrs. Mense's baby is due April 8.
   Mrs. Mense and her husband, Matt Manse, have not decided on a name for the baby. They are open to suggestions. They plan to have the baby at St. John's Regional Medical Center in Joplin. When Mrs. Mense returns to work, she plans on having the baby's grandmothers watch her
   Mrs. Mense is anxiously anticipating her first child and predicts, "My baby will probably be short when she grows up like me."
   It has not been easy for Mrs. Mense. "The hard thing about working and being pregnant at the same time is I get tired easily. I go home and go straight to sleep."
   That's not the only problem, she added. "The thing I hate most about pregnancy is the morning sickness."
   But the good things about pregancy outweigh the bad.
   "The best thing about being pregnant," she said, "is being excited about the baby coming."

Room 210 Staff Writers
  If you think being pregnant is hard or if you think dealing with 150 students a day is hard...try doing both things at once.
   Mrs. Barbara Rooker, who teaches sixth and eighth grade math at South Middle School, is pulling off this amazing feat.
  "The hardest thing about being pregnant and teaching is that you get so tired," Mrs. Rooker said.
   She had the huge shock of finding out she was pregnant about seven months ago. She already has two kids, a son, Kendrick, 6, and a daughter, Hailey, 2. Her third child is expected to arrive around Jan. 23, 2005. Mrs. Rooker said her little girl will be named Morgan Rooker. The parents have not chosen a middle name yet.
   Mrs. Rooker plans to return to school three to four weeks after she has Morgan.
   Though the combination of pregnancy and teaching is tiring, Mrs. Rooker said, it does have its rewards.
   "The best thing about pregnant," she said, "is you get to feel the baby moving all the time."

Room 210 Staff Writer
   The hardest thing I've ever been through was my move from Puerto Rico to Joplin, Missouri. I left the world I was accustomed to and had to live in a world where I didn't even speak the
language. I felt like an outsider looking in and I was treated much worse. 
     I was seven years old and in the second grade when my mother made that decision.  I can't believe I was actually happy to go. I wasn't thinking about the possibility that I would never see my family again. To be completely honest, I figured I'd be back in a few weeks. Of course, that wasn't the case and as the summer grew to a quick end I prepared myself for the first day of school.
    That was the toughest day of my life. I don't remember much. All I remember are bits and pieces of the hardest work I've ever done. I made friends easily, but not for the reasons I wanted. Everyone wanted to be friends with the Spanish-speaking weirdo.
I faked sick and cried in my mom's lap in order to stay home. All I wanted to do was go back to Puerto Rico.
  Things got better as soon as I got an ESL teacher. Her name was Mrs. Emily and she was the sweetest lady I had met my whole time in the U.S. Mrs. Emily would come get me during reading time everyday and I would get up from my chair, all eyes on me, but as proud as I could be to walk with her.
    I learned English pretty quick and by the third grade I had graduated ESL. I still had a bad accent, which encouraged people to make fun of me, but I didn't care.
          Soon I was able to do all the work and my friends started liking me for who I was, since they could finally communicate with me. Time went by and my accent faded and only people who went to elementary school with me remember those embarrassing days.
I wish I could help anyone that went through something like that. It's hard to understand how scary it is for a child to walk into a new environment so different from the last. To not have a soul to talk to because of the small differences. Yet, I learned
English and though I long for those long, warm days in
Puerto Rico, I'm happy.

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