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Upper Merion Area Middle School

The Upper Merion Area Middle School in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, recently held a contest where their students wrote an essay on “The Challenges of Learning a New Language and What it Must Feel Like to Not Speak English in an English-speaking School.”  The two  winners of the contest (one from each homeroom) were to be entitled to one free language on-line language course (Italian, Portuguese, or Spanish) provided by Claudia Krusch the director of CK Translations, LLC.

The staff and teachers involved were Angela Della Valle (staff) who organized and promoted the event - Faith Seymour and Christine Schmolz (teachers) who helped implement the event. They believed this would be a beneficial event for their students since there are many diverse cultural background students in their school.

The following are the two winner's essays:

Michael's Adventure


Michael Burrell

What might it feel like to be an English speaking student in non-American school and what might your day be like?

As an English speaking student in a non-American school, most people would feel confused. I myself would feel like I had very little knowledge as to what was going on around me. I would not understand what the teacher or the students were trying to say to me.

I would use my sense of sight to help me get through the day. One way to accomplish this is by looking at the pages of the student's book who was sitting next to me. Now that I started some sort of communication, I could look at the teacher's hand gestures to help me recognize what he/she is trying to teach me. I would try to learn their language through ESL classes. An ESL class is for students like me to go and learn a new language from a teacher who knows English. He/she could also help me especially try to learn math, reading, and science.

I know my day would be difficult trying to learn the school's rules. I would learn theses rules in order to show the respect I have for my new school. I would also learn them to help keep me out of trouble. At my new school I would try to make a friend so that we may learn each other's language. With my new friend at hand, this is how I would get through my day, at my new non-American school.


A Lonely Day

By: Vishal Patel

If I were a student from a foreign country, who did not know English, but went to an English school I probably would not be getting use to things that easily. I would miss my homeland a tremendous amount. I would not be able to sleep, as I would gaze out the window into the night sky. I would remember my homeland each and every night, as I would picture myself with my friends and family having fun. I would pretend that my toys were being some of my closest friends. I would have endless days and nights.

School would not be as easy for me as well. As I would walk down the hall, I would see the other kids laughing and joking around each other in the very massive hallway. That would be kids who would just stare while I walk down the very lonely hallway. They would call me the new kid. During class as the kids joke around and have fun while learning with the teacher and others, I would sit in the lonesome corner with just my shadow and me.

Then would come lunch the most lonesome of all. As I approach the lunch line, I would see other kids walking together talking and laughing. As boys and girls talk probably about me, I keep remembering, remembering as I watch, and sob. I do not understand what the lunch woman tells me when she tries me to tell me the price. After getting my lunch and sitting down alone as kids pass by, and my heart just breaks. I cannot eat at all, as I remember my friends.

After the last bell of education rings, I walk out the classroom slowly and alone. Kids are running to there lockers. Shouting and Screaming. I go to my locker take my books and go. When I get outside, I see kids having fun. Then comes some kids they come near me, pretending to be my friends as they tell my lie after lie. They make fun of me as I could barely tell.  Then suddenly they grabbed my book bag. As they run I try to follow. Then they stop and toss it around, as I could say nothing. Then comes a teacher to help as I could say nothing when he asked what’s wrong. A couple of kids helped as they had seen what had happened. Then I walk home after a lonesome and painful day. Then as I come home I remember, and then starts another day.


As the winners of the contest, the two students will receive four online Spanish Classes.  Claudia Krusch said "I'm very happy to be able to provide instruction to such motivated students and share some of the privilege that was given to me when I was younger and had access to a second, third and fourth language. I'm hoping to inspire them to embrace this opportunity and use it in their working experience."


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