Profiles of students in Richmond High's bilingual program

Name: Paulina Avila

Age: 17

Birthplace: Guadalajara, Mexico

Time in the United States: One year and 9 months

Aspirations: College to study chemistry or pharmacology

“In one way, it would be good (to study in English) because I would learn English. But on the other hand, it would be bad because I wouldn’t understand what the teacher was saying. ? This class (American History taught in Spanish) is very good for me. The class is important because before,
I didn’t like history, but now with Mrs. Martinez, I do.”

Name: Yadira DeLeon

Age: 17

Birthplace: Los Angeles; from ages 3 to 6 lived in Jalisco, Mexico

Aspirations: Legal para-professional

“When I came here, I used to cry. My friends would say things and I couldn’t answer. If I came from Mexico and they were teaching me only in English, how would I understand? I needed (the teacher) to talk in Spanish and then translate.”

Name: Marilyn Franco

Age: 18

Birthplace: Ventura County

Time in United States: back and forth to Mexico for much of her life

Aspirations: Computer engineering

“When I was here in school, I spoke almost entirely in Spanish;
English just confused me. I can understand English, but to write is very difficult. If you do learn, you’ll have better opportunities.”

Name: Yensi Gonzales

Age: 17

Birthplace: Honduras

Time in the United States: 4 years

Aspirations: College to study computers

“My parents worked hard to bring me to the United States. Now I have to pay them back by working hard.”

Name: Jose Loera

Age: 17

Birthplace: Jalisco, Mexico

Time in the United States: 2 years

Aspirations: College and then a job in computers

“It’s important to know two languages because you’ll have opportunity and get a better job. For me it would be better to learn in English, but for many of those who have just arrived, it would be bad.”

Name: Guillermina Manguia

Age: 17

Birthplace: Colima, Mexico

Time in United States: 3 years

Aspirations: Teaching

“At the beginning it would be bad and very confusing (to have class in English). I can’t read hardly at all in English and can speak only a little bit.”

Name: Marlon Martinez

Age: 18

Birthplace: Queretaro, Mexico

Time in the United States: 2 years

Aspirations: College

“I am learning English, little by little. In the beginning it’s hard, but after you’re here awhile and learn English, it’s easier.”

Name: Martha Martinez

Age: 16

Birthplace: Michoacan, Mexico

Time in the United States: One year and 5 months

Aspirations: Computer engineering

“The teachers are good, but some of the students don’t want to learn.
The classes here are harder than in Mexico.”

Name: Edgar Nu?ez

Age: 16

Birthplace: Mexico City, Mexico

Time in the United States: One year

Aspirations: The army in the United States or Mexico

“In Mexico, I was doing poorly in school. I was fighting a lot.
But I’ve changed here. Here I am making progress with my studies. If all the classes were in English, it would be better for me because I would learn the language more quickly.”

Name: Lissandra Ochoa

Age: 17

Birthplace: Michoacan, Mexico

Time in United States: 11 years

Aspirations: College

(Lissandra studied in English-only programs for many years) “I think it helped me a lot. Around the world, you have to speak English. It helped me to get jobs at clothing stores and Taco Bell. ? I’m not going to forget my own language either. I really like that I know two languages.”

Name: Jesus Paz

Age: 17

Birthplace: Michoacan, Mexico

Time in the United States: 2 years

Aspirations: College

“I think to have classes in English would be difficult for me, but it would better to learn English faster. ? I wish they would do something to eliminate the gang situation and discrimination that exists, and that we could all be treated fairly.”

Name: Romeo Vazques Sanchez

Age: 17

Birthplace: Texas; but he grew up in Mexico and returned to the United States when he was 15.

Time in the United States: 2 years

Aspirations: Law school

“If you don’t live here and have an understanding when you’re young,
languages are difficult. I’m learning almost double what I learned in Mexico.”

Name: Oswaldo Urbina

Age: 17

Birthplace: Leon, Nicaragua

Time in the United States: 3 years

Aspirations: Community college and then a four-year university

“I understand English. I read a lot, but I don’t speak a lot. My mom speaks English because she’s been here for 12 years.”

Name: Gabriela Vargas

Age: 17

Birthplace: Martinez

Time in the United States: 17 years

Aspirations: Cosmetology school

“For me, it’s important to know two languages. It’s good for a job.
I was in bilingual classes and they showed me how to speak English. It’s a good thing.”

Name: Leslie Vilchis

Age: 17

Birthplace: Estado de Mexico, Mexico

Time in the United States: One month

Aspirations: College to study pharmacology

“It’s good to be able to take classes in Spanish, but there’s more disorder here. I have seen the students don’t have respect for the teachers.
I prefer to have the classes in Spanish so that I will learn the same as others who speak English. If not, I would be behind academically.”

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