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Why I Stand − An Immigrant's ELL Story

Access to High-Quality Schools | 01/22/2016

Deb Jaquith Marketing and Communications Director

Deborah serves as the marketing communications director for Stand for Children Washington.

My family emigrated Mexico when I was a toddler. I went to preschool south of Tacoma in Lakewood, WA.  Though I had already lived here a few years when I started first grade, my English skills weren’t strong; so I was tested on English. I was placed in Special Ed. I’m not sure why but I wonder if it was because of the language barrier. 

As a result, I had tutoring and extra classes throughout my education; which should have been good. Still, I struggled. A lot.  At parent teacher conferences, I would often have to translate; my parents didn’t speak enough English and the school usually did not have translators available.  My parents wanted me to succeed but didn’t know how to help. The schools didn’t have much to offer them, in the way of support.

I was miserable in school and my grades showed it. I felt pushed along through the system. Going into 11th grade, my GPA was below 2.5.

That’s when I met Mrs. Rodriguez. She was the first teacher who really cared. She was engaged and interested in me and my progress. It felt good.  After my first semester, I got the highest GPA I’d ever received, a 2.5. Mrs. Rodriguez got me into a local group called MOLE, which provides Latino students with support and tutoring.  They partner with Tacoma Public Schools and are the only Latino high school student group in Tacoma. 

Mrs. Rodriguez and MOLE made all the difference for me. After 11 years of what I felt was indifferent treatment in public schools, I finally got it together. I graduated high school with a 3.2 GPA and am now in my second year at Tacoma Community College.  I hope to have a career in interior design. Whatever the future, it looks pretty bright. 

I volunteer with Stand for Children because they Stand for students like me.



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