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Deborah Larosiliere and Mariana Pires

Staff writers

Many people at Holliston High School do not know what the ESL program is all about. When the School’s ESL teacher, Andrea Weingartner, was asked about this, she said the following:

“Our ESL program is dedicated to helping students from foreign countries to adjust to a new school environment. I help my students develop English skills that are essential for learning, and I teach cultural awareness as well. I want my students to think of my classroom as safe haven, a place where they are totally accepted, and where their heritage is appreciated. I want my students to know that diversity enriches our lives and leads to greater knowledge and greater tolerance. My students here at Holliston High School are amazing. Every single student has a unique and intriguing story to tell, and I am honored to be part of his or her journey. I love to see them make progress and succeed. I am motivated and inspired by my wonderful students every day.”

The ESL program at the High School has 11 students including Mariana and myself, as well as students from 7 different countries (Egypt, Haiti, Brazil, Guatemala, Honduras, Vietnam, Colombia). In an interview, they answered the following questions:

What do you think about Holliston High School?

“It’s really organized, the level of education is really high, and the teachers are really good. We get to learn a lot of things. It’s just a really good school,” said Hong Long Nguyen, an ESL student currently at HHS from Czech Republic.

How is HHS different from your last school?

“HHS is very different from our last school. We think that there is more freedom at HHS. We all used to wear uniforms but here we wear whatever we want. We get a better education here. We get more opportunities here,” said Mariana Pires, a student from Brazil and Rimon Fakhory, a student from Egypt.

What is your favorite and least favorite thing about HHS?

“Our favorite thing about HHS is the lunch, the meal is really delicious. We get to join a lot of clubs and sports. We like DSB. We like the fact that we can choose some of our classes and the level at which we can learn. We like the positive environment and the fact that the teachers really care about us. They show us that they want to make our future successful. Our least favorite thing about HHS is, for some of us advisory, we think it’s boring,” explained Beshoy Said, a student originally from Egypt.

Do you have difficulties fitting in?

“The ones who have been here for a long time don’t have any difficulties fitting in, but the others that just came have a lot of difficulties. We feel excluded from the rest of the school. We feel like the other students don’t have any interest in interacting with us,” said Ovidio Mateo, a student from Guatemala.

In ESL class, we are like a family. We help each other. We sit with each other at lunch so we don’t stay alone. We support each other and love each other like brothers and sisters.

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