The Kid Behind the Mask

By: Adam Alvarez

When Adam Álvarez was 4 years old, his abilities to make pieces of art protruded overall. Soon after, he turned into the youngest artisan in Puerto Rico, appearing in newspapers and videos alike. Adam grew up in Cabo Rojo in a nice place called Llanos Tuna in Boqueron, and his father kept him in private schools until graduation.

The kid who once dressed up as a vegigante was now walking in the UPRM on his first year of college.

He found himself in a very different place from where he had been and seemed to be lost at every turn, but nonetheless, his spirit of adventure always helped him overcome the situations. Though his grades in Chemistry didn’t go so well, he never gave up and kept on pushing forward.

In 2011, Adam met the love of his life to whom he is now engaged , and even if the marriage won’t be soon, he hopes it will come. A year later, Adam was now a sophomore and kept his relationship flourishing, but everything got more and more difficult.

Even though nothing is for sure in Adam’s life,”I just hope to be happy, find a job, and have a calm life. My dream is to find true prosperity, and to have a peaceful life with my family, my friends, and myself, as I draw and cherish my artistic work.”

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From Slices to Stabilizers

By: Juan C. Kuang

As a young boy, Jonathan Santiago always had great admiration for his father’s livelihood. An accomplished pizza chef in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico, Jonathan’s boyhood vision had been to follow in his father’s footsteps in the culinary arts, eventually succeeding him as owner of the family restaurant.

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Not an Easy Life

When Juan Kuang was 2 years old he moved from Puerto Rico to the United States because of his father’s job. He had a hard time with the move and did not make friends fast because he did not speak English.

While in the United States Juan moved from state to state until 6th grade, by this time he was already fully bilingual and even spoke English better than Spanish.

When looking at Juan you can see a very normal guy in his jeans and t-shirt, but you can notice just at looking at him he is a really smart person because his eyes express focus and determination in what he is doing. When talking to him you realize he is more serious and responsible than much of the other guys at college.

Juan came back to Puerto Rico when he was in 6th grade. After graduating from high school at Ponce he started studying Political Science at the Catholic University in Ponce. Later on he discovered his passion for English and changed to an English major. He is still studying English but now at the University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez Campus.

He plans to continue studying after graduating until completing a Ph.D in English. After finishing his studies he is not sure whether he’d stay in Puerto Rico or go live in the United States.

“The greatest certainty that I have come to know in my life, is that I have both the aptitude and the enthusiasm to learn as much from language as it can teach me, so that I, in turn, may do the same for others.”   – Juan Kuang

 

 

T.V. helped Juan with learning English when living in the United States. He became perfectly fluent by age 4.

 

 

English has become a passion for Juan. He is currently pursuing his bachelor’s degree in English and plans to continue studying until completing a Ph.D.

 

The Beginning of a journey

Gregg Y. Malavé

 As a boy Hector found English to be interesting, but like for most public school students in Puerto Rico learning the language wasn’t easy or fun. After winning several spelling bee and grammar competitions the language really grew on him; even more when he traveled to the states for a robotics competition when he was 11.

When Hector was 10 years old his dad passes away. Growing up with only his mom and little brother and living in a middle class family, he developed a likeness for books, which paid off in the end once he entered the UPR of Mayaguez and had such good grades.

While here in the Campus his English skill have been developing thanks to such great intermediate English professors and their work. He was accepted to the Industrial Engineering program which has been a great experience so far for him

He was born and raised in Caguas, Puerto Rico where he lost his father. When he was in high school he traveled to the robotic competition; where his desired to learn English grew. Finally he was admitted to Colegio (UPRM).

Even though Hector loves the place where he was born, he says his plans are to finish his bachelor degree and move away.

“My personal goal is to become a great industrial engineer then, using my knowledge and skills, I would be able to help other people through the services of my company and feel proud of myself because of doing a great job helping the community.”

A volleyball standing still after a big match. Hector likeness for this game also symbolizes how he can stand still after big match and how he stands tall.

Here we see the beginning of a new journey in Hectors life. This photo was taken in the first week of freshman orientation after he was admitted to study in UPRM, Colegio de Mayaguez in 2011.

Engineer by passion

By: Angélica Ortiz Blanco

Since his first years of school, Rafael attended bilingual schools and learned English as a second language but he kept using it daily. He was very fluent speaking it but sometimes when asked he would get nervous and didn’t know how to answer.

Rafael grew up in San Juan, Puerto Rico a place known for its tourism. Being in that environment helped him to practice his English because he usually get asked by the tourists for places, restaurants and other interesting stuff to do in the capital city.

When you see Rafael walking around the Mayagüez Campus of the University of Puerto Rico with his backpack and jeans, sunglasses and cell phone quickly heading to another class he might seem like any other guy studying civil engineering. When you establish a conversation with him you notice that he’s very friendly and humble, likes to party and spend time with his friends and at the same time is very responsible with college work.

Beach volleyball is one of Rafael favorite’s sports. He’s been playing it since high school and he finds in it a way to entertain himself while he represents his island.

In 2007 Rafael visited California to play beach volleyball with his team and he had the opportunity to socialize with the other players. After that he went on a family trip where he had to translate for his family and he also socialized with other people. In 2010 he enrolled in college.

He wants to earn his MA in the United States because he wants to get more experience in his field but after graduation he wants to live and work here. He says there’s nothing like Puerto Rico.

‘’I’m very grateful that I know English because it gives me a lot of opportunities like job interviews or social encounters. The fact that I don’t only know Spanish but English as well gives me great pleasure.”

 

 

Rafael admiring the beauty of Puerto Rico on a trip to Vieques. He took a walk by the beach and thought of what the future might bring for him, he hopes to remain living here.

A casual guy with a big future by Miguel Hernandez Roman

A casual guy with a big future

By Miguel Hernández Román

Christopher González’ English professors in junior high and high school spoke mostly Spanish and didn’t focus on an English interaction in the classroom, even though he found their lessons to be a start to master, the language. He strengthened his knowledge by using the computer and literature as tools because he knew would be necessary along his professional career.

He was raised in a traditional nuclear family household at Mayagüez Puerto Rico, where none of his family members speak English.

Christopher is a casual guy with an open mind for most themes and is currently a sophomore at University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez Campus. As the rush and work of classes increases over time so does his effort with it. Yet always stops for a moment to say hello to his colleagues and express a positive attitude among them.

When he finished high school in 2011 he received the admission letter from UPR Mayagüez, where he would began in August of the same year. He was admitted to the Biology Department in his first year but he wanted to be a mechanical engineer.  On the summer before his first semester started, he quickly made a request for an internal transfer to change majors. To his satisfaction it was done in no time.

His dreams are to finish the bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and continue master and doctoral studies either at the United States or Europe and finally work in the aerospace area. He is always keeping in mind that his English needs to improve along the way.

Self-confidence is a guide for a man who seeks to improve himself.Perseverance is the “consciousness”that will lead him to success.

“If you want to learn to speak English in a public school, do it by caring/ The system is there for you but you need to be there for the system.”- Christopher González

Christopher Gonzalez on his trip to New York with his family.In September of 2007 , it was the first time his English was his best “tool”, on “world” he feared but conquered.

Building a Future by Christopher L. González Rodríguez

  Building a Future

by Christopher L. González Rodríguez

 Miguel learned to speak English during his stay in private school; he graduated from Holy Trinity High School.  For Miguel, school planted the seed of English in him but the media made that seed grow up until today.  He always studying in private school and now he’s studying mechanical engineering at the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez after discovering that physics wasn’t what he likes.

The first time Miguel tested his English skills was when he traveled to Florida. He was very happy because he knew that the time he spent in school wasn’t in vain.

            During a summer vacation Miguel traveled to Kissimmee, Florida, state to share with his family.  The first time Miguel traveled in summer 2007 he got his “training” in English; it was the best test for him to know if his English was good and he didn’t get disappointed; the media had taught him well.

            During the time that Miguel was in school he experienced much diversity of professors: some spoke English and taught it very well and some did not.  The media had been a great influence in the evolution of Miguel’s language.  Readings, TV, music, computer, etc, have helped Miguel to improve his skills in English.

At age 4, Miguel Hernandez began preparing to be a professional by taking his first step in school. His achievement day was coming soon and emotion captivated him.

            Miguel is studying Mechanical Engineering in the University of Puerto Rico-Mayagüez and he plans to be an astronaut or work with the NASA in the near future.  He knows that his job requires having a very good, almost perfect, domain of the language, so there still much practice for Miguel.

            “Nothing is difficult, you are the only obstacle,” is a quote that Miguel always tells himself and for sure it is a very inspiring one.

Awesome Biography of Estefanía By Carlos Torres

Estefanía will accomplish her goals no matter what between her and her finish line. She is a strong and powerful woman who will not stop just because of the fear of consequences.

Awesome Biography of Estefanía

By Carlos Torres

When Estefanía was born her mother wanted to move out of Puerto Rico so that her daughter will speak English as a first language. But

Estefaníawas raised by a caringl and loving family.her parents decided to enroll her in a bilingual elementary school so she could learn English. Estefanía knows English because her mother is an English teacher. She made Estefanía watch television only in English so she could learn better pronunciation.

If you see Estefanía you will notice her passion for fashion even though she keeps it simple. You will notice that she is always listening to music and may seem unapproachable, but in reality if you approach her she is a very sociable and open minded woman. She tries to always be honest, even if it hurts, that’s one of the best qualities.

Estefanía has always lived in Puerto Rico with her mom, dad, sister and her grandmother. She attended a bilingual elementary school where she attended up to 9th grade. Then Estefanía applied to Centro Residencial de Oportunidades Educativas de Mayagüez where she was accepted and where she graduated from. She is now  a chemistry major at the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez campus. She accomplished all of this with the support of her parents.

Estefanía says she does not enjoy being in Puerto Rico and her plan is to continue her studies elsewhere. She believes that there are more opportunities elsewhere.

“My goal in life is to finish my bachelor’s degree in psychiatrist and open a mental hospital, because I want to help people with their mental illness.”

 

 

Estefanía being carried by her mother when she was 3 months old in her home in Aibonito. Estefanía’s mother influenced Estefanía to learn English because she is an English teacher.

 

English Languag…

English Language for the Future

                At age 12 Brian’s family moved to Florida because his father was offered a good paying job there. That really wasn’t what he wanted but he had no other choice only to go and leave his friends and island behind. The trouble that he went through making new friends affected him, in time he made friends that made him happy while he lived there and he really started to like Florida.

Brian was raised in Villalba, a small town in the center of Puerto Rico. He has always been a smart student, especially in English classes where he spoken the English language fluidly since a young boy. He learned it from watching cartoons and educational shows in English.

A Sunday in the park Brian was playing baseball with a couple of his new friends. He notice a kid playing by himself; he looked really sad and lonely just like Brian felt when he got to Florida he went up to him and asked him his name. The boy didn’t speak English only, Spanish. So Brian talked to him in Spanish and the boy was surprised. Brian translated what the boy said to his other friends so he could play with them, which made Brian felt really good.

Brian with his friend Fabiola from Florida. Meeting her made him like it there a lot more.

Brian is going back to Puerto Rico the next year. He is currently studying computer engineering in University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez Campus. He feels really comfortable back in his island with his family and old friends, and has taken various English courses where he talks English to everyone there because he really enjoys it.

He plans on finishing his studies soon. Although he likes it here in Puerto Rico, he plans to go back to Florida after graduation to secure a better job. He also plans to have a family, and will try to teach his son English and Spanish because he knows how much being bilingual helps in this world.

“Nothing is IMPOSSIBLE, the word itself says I’M POSSIBLE “

Brian has big plans ahead of him. He is prepared for what the future has in store for him.

Down-to-earth

By: Paula C. Báez Santiago

From when she was in kindergarten, Patricia Flores began learning the English language and worked very enthusiastically to show her mom that she could speak English. Every time she got home from school, she would tell her mom that she wanted more homework and exercises so she could keep learning.

Patricia Del Mar was raised in Bayamón where she attended the American School since preschool through high school graduating with excellent grades, fully bilingual and with an amazing love for the English language. These accomplishments helped her get enrolled in the University of Puerto Rico – Mayagüez.

Patricia del Mar, at age 19, with her friends having an awesome time in her hometown at Bayamón. She still lives there with her family and always makes time to meet with her friends.

At first, Patricia looks just like any ordinary teenager in college at UPRM: wearing short jeans, studying, trying to get to her classes without getting wet and having a blast with her friends. When you speak to her and get to know her more, you also may realize that this third year student is really a realistic, sensible, and dedicated young woman. With her great personality and down-to-earth attitude she works very hard to get a good education and reach her dreams.

When she was just five years old she played volleyball and at the age of 11 she had the opportunity to travel and meet with volleyball players from teams of the United States, where she put into practice her English. She then stopped playing volleyball when she enrolled in the University of Puerto Rico – Mayagüez in 2010 to study a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. A year later she saw that civil engineering wasn’t her calling and changed to a degree in psychology.

She really likes to help other people and loves what she is studying; therefore, she plans to stay in Puerto Rico and work here with her bachelor’s degree in Psychology after she graduates.

“My goal is to become a psychologist and keep studying so I can have a Master’s in Speech Pathology and help the people of our society.”

Patricia has always had the urge to listen to the people that surround her and help them. That’s what motivated her to study psychology and, with the support of her family, she is working hard to get her degree.

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