More ESOL Students Participate in School Sports

Leah Cabrera, Bellenia Huamani, and Lysa Cabrera are three ESOL students who are participating in Blair athletic activities this year. Leah and Lysa are on the Pompon Squad and Bellenia is on the Volleyball Team.
By Norma Menjivar
     There are many reasons why students who are learning English do not participate on sports teams in schools where most of the people on the team are English speakers. But at Blair there are ESOL students who do not worry about the problems and are getting involved in school athletic activities.
     One reason why ESOL students do not play sports at Blair is because they do not much know about the way to join the teams and they and miss the deadlines. Melissa Lopes is an ESOL student who finally met the deadlines and now she is playing the varsity volleyball team. For the past two years at Blair she was trying to play but she did not ask the coach on time to try out. However, she was on time this year because she heard the announcements and she also went to ask Mr. Miller, the sports director of Blair. This fall she went to try out for the volleyball team and she made it. She said, “I was not that much scared because I was convinced that I could make the team.”
     Coach Hoelman, a coach who has been coaching students for nine years, has a lot of experience with students who are learning English. “I love working with ESOL students,” he said. He coaches three different teams at Blair also he is a PE teacher. Coach Hoelman agrees that missing deadlines is a big problem for ESOL students. “I suggest that ESOL students come to talk to the coaches so that coaches will encourage them,” he said. He added, “If ESOL students are involved in sports, that will make them learn more quickly about U.S culture and the language.” But he said the coaches would need someone who can help those students who do not speak English to get information about how the program works. “But I am willing to work with ESOL students,” he said.
     English is another big problem that is stopping many of the students who want to play sports. One ESOL student who finally decided to overcome her fears is Sherly Geronimo. She is a senior who was never a member of a pom squad. Now she is a member of the pom squad. She said, “I got the information about tryouts from my friend Leah.” Leah is also an ESOL student who is in the pom squad,” Sherly said. “I like to dance and I like to smile a lot. That is why I decided to try out for the pom squad.”
     “When I went to try out the first day, it was really hard because they were new moves for me. But I learned easily,” she said. “I knew that I would make the squad.” She added that her coach was really nice to her.
     The third reason that many students don’t try out for a team is that maybe they didn’t play the sport before or they didn’t play on a team before. Melissa Lopes did not have experiences playing with a team before she made the volleyball team. “I used to go to the beach to play volleyball with my cousins and friends. That’s how I knew how to play volleyball.” But Melissa had never played for a team. “When I was trying out for the team I was worried because I did not know how to serve and that was required of the players,” she said. But she was able to learn how to serve well enough to make the team.
     Those who do participate in sports have many reasons to be glad. “I meet different people and have fun at the some time,” Melissa Lopes said. Shirley Geronimo believes that “ESOL students should do extra curricular activities because that is going to help them to go to college and to learn English at the same time,” she said.
     Finally, Melissa Lopes gives this advice to students. “I want to tell the ESOL students to try out for the sports they wish to play for and do not let anything stop you from doing what you like to do, even if you not have enough English,” she said.


© Copyright Silver International Newspaper, Montgomery Blair H.S. 2003 (This page was created by Julmira Ie and Yudi Rodriguez)