Gabriela Pires, in the middle front, is another
ESOL student who tried out for West Side Story. Gabriela got a dancing part
in the show.
By Julmira Ie
There are a lot of ESOL students who don’t
participate in school plays. Some students say this is because of the ways American
students treat us and because the American students don’t want to be friends
with us because we are not from here. But I decided to try to be in West Side
Story because my teacher told me about it and because I thought it would be interesting.
One day I was in my science class and my ESOL teacher,
Mrs. Shilling, come to class with a paper and she told me she wanted to talk to
me after the class. When I read the paper that she gave to me about trying out
for West Side Story, I was so happy because I was never in a show before and I
wanted to try to be in it.
After class I went to her class and she explained
to me about the paper. After that we went together to see the director of the
play and Mrs. Shilling explained to her that we studied about West Side Story
in class. That’s why she wanted us to participate in the play.
When I first went I only saw American students there
and I was so shy to introduce myself and I was afraid to participate. But after
a time I introduced myself and I thought it wasn’t too difficult to introduce
yourself to new people in just English. But you need to know lot of English to
I practiced for a week after school, but I had to
quit because it was too late for me to stay every time because it was difficult
for my father to understand why I wanted to do that for my life. African parents
especially are so strict with their daughters.
I think it is a good idea for ESOL students to participate
in plays because we can learn more English and learn more activities. But if they
say ESOL students can’t participate in plays because we don’t speak
English or because of other reasons then the ESOL students will never be encouraged
to participate in a show.
I think ESOL students should not think about what
others think and should encourage themselves to be in plays and encourage themselves
to speak more English as best they can. I also wish parents could encourage their
children to participate in the plays because that can help their kids later on.
I understand that a lot of parents want their kids to have a good education and
not to be street kids, but it’s important for the school to help parents
to understand other activities in the school and that it is going to be good for
their children later on.