Viva Cuba

By: Montserrat Lara 

We all know and love the queen of attendance, Ms.Esturo, but the time has come for her to leave and live her best life. Not only does she play a big role in the attendance office as a coordinator, she also took on the leadership role in supporting students through National Honors Society (NHS).  

Ms. Esturo has been part of our Ram family since 1988 when she was called in to sub for Mrs. Nieda. After that she believed South Gate High School was where she needed to be and it was that opportunity that made her change her life for the better. After her 31 years of service Ms.Esturo decided it was time to retire.  This is such a great loss because the rate of the school’s attendance will drop as students lose the one person who truly cares for their attendance and overall well-being. Ms.Esturo also made the decision to leave because of her parents’ advanced age and deteriorating health. As older people need more care and attention, she feels the need to be there and care for them instead of leaving them in a home. It is much easier for her to do so since she knows their specific needs. 

Leaving South Gate was not an easy decision for Mrs.Esturo. For her it is a difficult goodbye because of the friendships she has created with everyone she works with; it is hard to leave behind the people one has known for so long. Not only is it difficult for her to leave her friends but it is also extremely difficult leaving all her students, as for Ms. Esturo, helping kids is her purpose in life. Now that she is sent to leave, it is extremely difficult to not be able to help, For her, signing the prom forms or making sure students’ attendance goes up meant everything. Her 31 years of service to South Gate were the best to happen to her. It gave her life purpose and meanning. On behalf of the Rambler staff we wish you the best on your retirment.

RAMbotics: The Story of Mr.Scraps

By Jessica Ramirez

        Our very own South Gate High School Robotics team made a historic appearance this March at the 2019 FIRST Robotics Competition’s LA Regionals, where we competed for the first time. As we all know, South Gate is not STEM specialized, and therefore opportunities in math, science, and technology are not always available. Seeking to open our school to the field of STEM, current senior Ashley Perez founded the club in 2017 and the club has since grown from a small idea to an unprecedented reality. Thanks to the hard work of our members, leadership staff, and mentor, Mr.Moraila, South Gate High School Robotics was able to not only participate alongside 50+ schools from all over the country, but excel as a Rookie (first-year) team and qualify for the World Championships in Houston, Texas. Behind this unexpected success, however, were endless hours of hard work, commitment, and teamwork that went into building our robot, Mr.Scraps.

           As aforementioned, our school is not traditionally STEM oriented which only made it more difficult to gain the support, resources, and professional mentorship needed to excel in such a high level of competition that FIRST represents. With the help of board members, Esteban Flores (Vice President), Andy Cristales (Co-Treasurer), Juan Flores (Co-Treasurer), and myself (Secretary), Ashley made this competition a reality. Once the $6,000 registration fee required to participate in the competition was paid, we received a kit of parts from which we had to plan, design, construct, and program a fully functioning industrial size robot in six weeks. At this point, we realized the magnitude of the task at hand, especially given our VERY limited resources. The storage room next to Mr.Moraila’s classroom became our workshop and meeting place three to four days a week. 

         The club’s 15 members took turns helping with the design, electrical, and technical aspects of the robot and soon we became like a family and constantly working together to conquer this intimidating project. When working out of the storage room became difficult, we saw ourselves having to go from garage to garage trying to find a work space where we had access to the necessary tools. Once again our lack of funding became an issue, as we had to borrow tools from individual members’ homes in order to complete the construction of Mr. Scraps. It was not the most ideal situation. Feeling the time pressure on us, we reached out to Jordan High School’s Robotics team, who were helpful in helping configure the technical parts of the robot. Unfortunately, our six week deadline was approaching and we were not able to include the main design components that would allow Mr. Scraps to complete the assigned task: place hatch panels on cargo ships and carry a ball into those same cargo ships. We had no other option but to stop construction and dedicate our robot to playing defense.

          On March 21, a handful of our members went down to the Convention Center from 8 am-6 pm for registration day. There, we met many teams from all over the state, and even from Chile, who had nearly 20 years of experience participating in FIRST. Seeing the sheer size of other teams’ robots, we knew we stuck out as the clear underdogs and truthfully did not expect to be successful. Our spirits quickly changed, however, when neighboring teams showed up to our pit willingly offering their assistance. With the help of over 10 other robotics teams, we were able to get Mr.Scraps moving and set up a defensive game plan for qualification matches the following day. If it had not been for the friendly, more experienced teams at the competition, Mr. Scraps would not have even moved and our hard work would have been for naught. Sticking to our defensive strategies, our team, #7871, was able to provide defensive play to our alliance and avoided being the last-ranking team throughout Friday’s and Saturday’s qualification matches. Despite our better-than-expected performance, Mr. Scraps ultimately ended with a ranking of 44 out of 56 competing teams. At that point, we were relieved about not coming in last.

        Once again, our hopes changed later that Saturday when the Award Ceremony began. We were one of two Rookie teams that competed at the LA Regionals and would thus be considered for the two Rookie Awards, meaning we had a 50/50 chance of being recognized. The other first-year team was awarded the “Rookie Inspiration Award” which recognized their teamwork abilities and dedication. To our surprise, the highest-ranking Rookie team would not be automatically awarded the “Rookie All-Star Award”, but rather the most deserving all-around team would. Sure enough, our team number 7871 was announced and we were being recognized as the 2019 FIRST Robotics Rookie All-Star Team, qualifying us for the World Championships to be held in Houston, Texas! Shock, disbelief, and excitement overcame us, and we were proud of what we managed to accomplish. Here are some words from our club advisor, Mr.Moraila: “I want to tell you guys how proud I am of what you were able to accomplish. You are well deserving of this award based off all the adversity you faced these past couple days. You guys learned to much from each other, from other teams, and most importantly about each other. What you guys faced is real life. Pressure. Deadlines. Collaboration”.

Although we initially had our hearts set out on making it to Houston for the Championships in April, we soon realized we would not able to afford this $15,000 trip due to our lack of funding and short deadline. We had not fundraised enough as a club for such a large trip, nor did we have access to all the tools we needed to make improvements to Mr. Scraps. Unfortunately, we did not reach our fundraising goal and saw no other option but to shift our focus to the club’s future. Having gained such a valuable experience through this competition, our club members were able to grow in a variety of skill sets from wiring and coding to networking and public relations. The undeniable benefits that Robotics Club introduced to South Gate High School has sparked a new interest in STEM among our students. We hope to once again compete in the FIRST competition and qualify for the World Championship next year.


Being LGBTQ in a Hispanic home: Eddy’s Story

By: Jessica Ramirez

Being part of the LGBTQ+ community is oftentimes surrounded by social stigmas that are furthered by traditional cultural norms. Conservative ideals, especially those found in older Hispanic generations, cause people to have trouble accepting others for who they are, which can create conflict for those who do identify as LGBTQ+. In addition to the general social pressures, strict and conservative families make it difficult to feel welcomed and accepted. One South Gate student, Eduardo Cholico, exemplifies this situation in his struggle to find acceptance in his Hispanic home.

A current senior, 17-year-old Eddy, comes from a family of eight, but lives with two brothers, one of which is his twin, an older brother, and his parents. Growing up, he remembers never really questioning his sexuality but knowing he liked boys and simply being himself, or as he describes it, “being in my own little world”. In elementary school, people began noticing and insulting him for his mannerism, saying he walked and talked like a girl. Eddy remembers struggling to conform with the labels of “LGBTQ”, but eventually identifying as genderqueer. To him this means being his own person somewhere in between male and female, or as others deem him, a very feminine boy. As he grew up, Eddy always knew he was attracted to other males but was drawn to females when it came to friendships.  

While he never officially came out to his parents, Eddy always felt as though his sexuality was established but ignored. He recalls a time in 6th grade when he was writing a letter to a boy confessing his feelings, when his dad walked into his room and demanded to see the letter. With tears in his eyes, Eddy’s dad asked if he knew what that letter meant. Taking ownership of his feelings, Eddy said that he did, in fact, know what his words meant. Since then, his sexuality has been a quiet subject and only been addressed once more in 10th grade. He remembers being in the car with his mom when a very inspirational song played and he just simply declared that he liked boys. Feeling as though he needed to confirm something that was never acknowledged, Eddy officially came out to his mom in a very sudden and unplanned way. In response, she said that regardless of anything he is still her son and will be loved no matter what, but Eddy knew that it would be difficult for her to ever be fully accepting of his identity.

Coming from a Mexican household, conservative ideals are dominantly present in Eddy’s home life. His dad has been especially unforgiving, claiming to have stopped believing in God and almost entirely refusing to talk to him . His dad especially favors his twin, Benji, who to him, embodies the ideal masculine son. “Machismo” is a form of toxic masculinity that plays a big role in why Eddy’s dad is so intolerant of his identity. There is little communication between them not only because of his dad’s blatant rejection, but because Eddy is fearful of fully expressing himself. His dad believes that “boys shouldn’t act like that” and wishes that he would just subject to male gender norms. His mom on the other hand, tries to be accepting but Eddy knows she does not agree with some of his behaviors and choices. Eddy explains, “She loves me as a son, but not me as a person”. Having been the school dance team’s captain in the beginning of his senior year, competitions and performances required him to feel confident and empowered, which is something he felt from wearing makeup. His mom, however, is adamant about him not wearing makeup, seeing it as a too-obvious manifestation of his sexuality. Eddy explains that most of her concern is for his safety because she knows that there are homophobic people out in the world who express their hate in many, often violent, ways. Despite this, to him makeup is a form of expression that allows him to feel confident, which is why he continues wearing it regardless of his parents’ disapproval. His actions are often scrutinized by both his mom and dad, who look for any excuse to discourage his feminine behavior. In addition to that, the lack of communication on the topic makes it difficult to overcome these differences of opinion and results in a strained family dynamic. Over time Eddy has come to realize that his parents were raised in a very different time and environment, which accounts for their lack of understanding. Regardless, he knows that they will always love him, but will never fully accept the person he is. 

Eddy is one of countless other members of the LGBTQ+  community that struggle with finding acceptance within their families and communities. He believes that a big reason why this happens is because of the desperate need for labels in society. Labels were originally imposed by people who needed a way of classifying people who are different, but Eddy explains that the LGBTQ+ community has embraced them as a way of providing unification for homosexual minorities and eliminate their negative connotations. Nonetheless, he recognizes that while labels and titles are not important to him, he accepts the fact that they help others understand and respect the differences that make us all unique. 

Respect, acceptance, and support are some of the main things that make Eddy and other LGBTQ+ members feel confident being who they are. He details the importance of accepting yourself despite what others may  think: “At the end of the day regardless of what happens at home, I still find a way to be open with myself as a person, seeing as I am more than proud of my differences regarding my sexual orientation… it is important to feel comfortable and safe just being honest about who you are because no one should have to keep that a secret. I personally am not afraid to flaunt my sexuality and I want to encourage others to do the same, as we can be all the better for it and make the world more accepting of who we are as individuals”. Wise beyond his years, Eddy is an example for many other young LGBTQ+ members who struggle understanding their own identity and seek the freedom to express themselves openly; it is okay to need encouragement and support, but it is always most important to stay true to yourself.


The Glory Within Resilience

High school is a unique time in people’s lives where they can enjoy the last few years of their childhood before going out in the real world. This time is meant to be for new experiences, relationships, and opportunities. However, it is sometimes tainted by personal obstacles. There are students here at South Gate High School who are overcoming hardships every day and are walking proof of the fight against a challenging life that has only discouraged them. One such student is senior Gloria Meza, whose story serves as an inspiration for others to not give up. Despite only being 17 years old, she views her difficulties as motivation to continue striving to accomplish her goals and wants to help others continue doing so as well.

Gloria is the youngest of 5 children, with an older half-brother Sergio (27) and half-sisters Brenda (26), Thalia (21), and Stella (19). Born in 2001, Gloria has never had an easy life to begin with; her father walked out on her mom before she was even born. Gloria’s mother had previously lost her husband (father to her four eldest children) to cancer and was now forced into being a single mother again. Growing up, Gloria remembers always having a good relationship with her sisters; it was her brother who she often clashed with. While they were financially stable at the time, her home life became conflicted, mostly because of her half-brother Sergio’s aggressiveness, which frequently got him into gang-related trouble. On one occasion in the fifth grade, she remembers Sergio forcefully dragging her out of bed, causing her to injure her head. Gloria remembers this as one of the earliest acts of violence that marked the beginning of regular physical abuse from her brother.

Back in 2015, during Gloria’s first year of high school, Sergio was arrested for failure to pay child support and her mom was torn between paying his bail or paying rent. Feeling as though it was her job to protect him, she decided to take out a loan and pay his bail. Because of this, Gloria and her family fell into an economic slump and were eventually forced to move out and stay with her aunt. At the time, her older sister Thalia was living in Las Vegas, where she was going to dental school and starting a life with her boyfriend. Stella was studying business at Cal State Fullerton and working three jobs. Meanwhile, Gloria, her mom, sister Brenda, and nephew Andres were all staying with her aunt, who looked down upon Sergio for his recklessness. Gloria admits having to go to different motels, cars, or shelters to spend the night because they were just so crowded at her aunt’s place. Realizing the desperate situation of their family, Thalia and Stella sacrificed their futures to help them financially. They became involved in drug trafficking and successfully smuggled drugs across the U.S.-Mexico border a couple times before getting caught.

The money that they made doing this was enough to help Gloria’s mom buy a trailer, where she could live with her mom, sisters, nephew, and brother. However, when they were caught, Thalia was sentenced for 5 years (because she was the driver) and Stella was sentenced to 1 year in jail; however, their good behavior allowed for their sentence to be shortened, meaning that Stella will get out this March. When her sisters were first taken away, Gloria remembers feeling alone at home, where the physical abuse from Sergio, a meth addict, became increasingly severe. Although Gloria repeatedly told her mom about Sergio’s aggression, she refused to take any action against him and protected him at all costs. At this point, she had to take it upon herself to prioritize her physical and emotional safety over anything else, which caused her to fall behind her junior year of high school. The abuse became so unbearable that Stella had to convince Gloria to confront her mom and once more ask that she kick Sergio out of their house. After much arguing, her mom finally agreed to kick him out. However, it was only a few days before he came back and the violence worsened. Fearing for her safety, Gloria built up the courage to report Sergio to a teacher at school after which social services and a therapist got involved. They threatened the mom with taking away custody of Gloria and Andres, Brenda’s son. Hostilities and resentment grew in her house, as her sister Brenda sided with her mom in defending Sergio.

Feeling completely isolated at home, Gloria recurred to therapy to help her cope with the trauma. Recurring nightmares and the constant fear for her safety became clear manifestations of PTSD caused by the physical abuse that Sergio inflicted and the emotional abuse that her mother unintentionally imposed. Gloria admits feeling insufficient, as her mom always chose to defend her brother even though he was disrespectful and always got into trouble while she was going to school and doing her best to succeed; she felt that the support she was giving her mom was not being reciprocated. With time Gloria began healing, seeing real progress, and doing better in school. She began getting more involved in ELAC classes and Teen Court as a way of picking herself up and working towards a more successful future. School has become a safe place for her because she does not have to question her safety but simply focus on the task at hand. All of Gloria’s experiences have helped her gain a new understanding as to why many women are afraid to speak out about their abuse and has made her want to give back to the community by volunteering at local homeless shelters.  

Unfortunately, this time of peace did not last long, as her brother once again returned to their home on February 14th, pushing her PTSD to what she describes as its “all time high”. Gloria is currently facing a difficult decision between going back to live with her family or going into foster care. Despite this, she confesses that she would rather be away from her family in exchange for her safety, than be with them but live in fear. Faced with so many life-altering experiences, Gloria is wise beyond her years and demonstrates this through her courage and resilience. It is hard working people like Gloria whose determination serves as an inspiration to everyone, regardless of the obstacles they may be facing.

The Tradition

Emely Martinez
What makes a tradition? A tradition is a belief passed down within a society with symbolic meaning or special significance with origins in the past. We have our own here at school in which faculty wants to have it get out there instead of being kept in a little circle of staff. “Mr. G Notick was a student here at South Gate High School back in the 40s and that is when he must have gotten the lettermen sweater. He was a teacher and then a dean. Later he decided to leave the sweater to the faculty association. People use to make comments about the sweater because we no longer make sweaters like this. The idea came up of auctioning the sweater, here at school, every year and the money will go to the faculty association for student scholarships. Ever since he retired, it’s been a custom from generation to generation. One year, Ms. Mayoral got the sweater for two hundred dollars and kept it for two years. She then gave it up and one of our counselors had took it for five-hundred dollars and gave it back immediately, so we can auction it again. The last owner of the sweater was Mr. Shlappy. When he retired last year, he gave me the sweater. Now it’s my turn to give it back to the faculty organization. This
sweater is important and no one keeps it. It represents the students that were here whom later became teachers, dean, or coordinators that want to give back to the school. I will gladly give it up in June, but also, I’m very sad because this means I am dethatching myself from the tradition. I hope the money goes for the students again and that this continues to go on and on for a very long time.” – Mrs. Esturo.

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Love Yourself

By: Montserrat Lara

Love, many believe that this can only be shared between two people, but the most important relationship is the one you hold with yourself. Loving your-self is probably what most of us are lacking which is why we are so hard on ourselves and continuously put ourselves down for simple mistakes. It needs to said that there is nothing wrong in being comfortable in who you are, it is okay to be confident.

Loving yourself is often confused with being arrogant and egotistic but that is not the case. There is a big difference between these, arrogance leads you to believe you are better than everyone else rather than thinking that you are enough to receive the love and care you need. Constantly thinking you are not enough is one of the worst habits one can have. You will feel inferior to everyone else and believe that you suck at everything which is not the case. If you think like you will constantly be comparing yourself to others which is also horrible. Someone of you may need to hear that its okay to make mistakes, its okay to not be the best at everything.

There are a lot of ways to show self-love. For one you can treat yourself. Treat yourself with snacks, clothes, a small trip to your favorite store, really to anywhere you enjoy. Another way is to let yourself rest! I cannot stress how important it is, this is an essential to life.In the wise words of RuPaul “ if you can’t love yourself how the hell you gonna love somebody else” .

February 14

Emely Martinez
Candy, flowers, heart-shaped notes- what’s not to like about Valentine’s Day? This sweet celebration, which happens every year on February 14, is all about spreading the love. Here are some of our favorite teachers sharing with us their own way of celebrating:
– Mr. Robles: “Although I don’t think of it as an important holiday, I like to take my significant other out to dinner and hand out stuffed animals to my children. I don’t consider it a tradition, but I like doing it every year out of love.”

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– Ms. Lewis: “Valentine’s Day is every day. However, on the specific day, I like to give candy to my students and also call my children and tell them how much I love and care for them.”

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– Mr. Gallardo: “I celebrate with my wife and daughters. I like to get them flowers, chocolate, teddy bears and finally go for dinner. I don’t consider it a “big holiday”, in fact birthdays are more important to me but it’s all out of love.”

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The American Dream in South Gate

By: Jessica Ramirez

The topic of immigration always seems to be a big part of today’s news and not in the best way. Misconceptions about Latin American immigrants being violent, aggressive, and inhumane often spread and create inaccurate generalization. The American population is polarized between being pro and anti-immigration, a division that is deepened by our very own President’s anti-immigrant biases. His notorious “Make America Great Again” slogan and its derogative connotation contribute to the negative light under which immigrants are too often perceived. The public is quick to accept false claims and statistics made up by the President, which leads many to formulate opinions grounded on inaccurate information.

While people often make assumptions about immigrants and their motives for coming to this country, not many take the time to understand their personal experiences and struggles. It may be impossible to believe or even understand that there are students on our very own South Gate High School campus that have faced innumerable challenges to obtain the things that we take for granted. This is not a foreign issue that we only see on the news, but it is our very own classmates, neighbors, and friends. Some immigrants arrived in this country as young children and were able to start school on time. However, others have only recently arrived and are confronting many cultural and social obstacles before achieving their American dream. While the struggles surrounding their individual immigration journeys were challenging enough, these kids are still subjected to the hateful generalizations made by our own political leaders.

Coming into a new country alone and without knowing the language is a reality for some students here in our school. Nehemias Rivera, for instance, is a recent immigrant from Honduras. At only 17 years of age, he has seen and experienced many things that have driven him to seek a better life here in the United States. Having left his home country seven months ago, Nehemias is still adjusting to his new life in this country and only beginning to gain an understanding of the language. Despite the difficulties, he expresses the surreal sensation he felt upon arriving and knowing that he had earned an opportunity at a better life.

Following the death of his mother two years ago, Nehemias recalls that “nothing was the same”, as his father did not live up to the responsibilities of being a single dad. Not having the parental support from his father, he found himself with no other choice but to leave him and his two brothers behind in search of education opportunities in the United States. He took on the dangerous task of crossing three borders (from Honduras to Guatemala, Guatemala to Mexico, and Mexico to the United States) all alone, but kept his hopes aimed at arriving in the U.S. to his uncle and two cousins. Nehemias admits being fearful about crossing the Guatemala-Mexico border-notorious for its violence- but also remained excited for all the new opportunities he would be given, particularly that of going to school.

After a long journey through Mexico, Nehemias crossed the Mexico-U.S. border but was detained there for 60 days. He admits that the treatment he received at the detainment center was not as bad as it is made out to be on the news; he had a place to sleep and was given three meals a day.  He did note, however, that this may have been because he is a minor, as there were adults who he recalls were treated disrespectfully. Now well into the school year, Nehemias is still learning English and trying to adapt to this new school environment with the support of our Ram family. Although he misses his dad and brothers back in Honduras, he expresses his hopes of being able to see them again soon.

Four years ago, another student on our campus, Alex, was going through similar struggles to those that Nehemias described. Alex also shared his immigration story and the reasons that forced him to come to the United States. Currently 17 years old, he left his native country of El Salvador when he was only 13. Being apart from his parents for nine years, he left his grandparents (with who he lived at the time) and set out for the United States all alone. He was fleeing the violence of his hometown and was both scared and excited to start a new life with his parents. When Alex arrived at the Mexico-U.S. border, he was taken to a San Diego detainment center where he was kept for about 12 hours. Like Nehemias, Alex remembers being treated well compared to the adults, which is something that he explains is not depicted accurately in the media. When he was released, he was sent to a shelter in Phoenix, Arizona where he was kept for a month before being able to reunite with his parents, who he had not seen since the age of four.

Alex started his first year of high school without knowing any English, one of the challenges which he admits was one of the most difficult to overcome. Despite the initial trouble, he is now a fluent English speaker and is doing well in school. As a current senior, he does not plan on going to college, but he wants to get a job that allows him to work with cars. He admits that his biggest obstacle was having to migrate alone and facing the constant fear of not being allowed to stay in the country with his parents. During these four years, he has not returned to El Salvador and misses his grandparents but has otherwise gotten used to his new life here in the United States.

While it is hard to get family support to immigrate to an entirely new country, for a 17 year old South Gate student, a desperate family was the contributing force to move. Johanna left her native country of El Salvador almost four years ago at the age of 14. She fled from the growing violence in her community and was fearful for her safety, which is why her grandparents encouraged her to try and get to the United States. Johanna did not want to leave the comfort of her family and was fearful of not being able to see them again, but she also understood that her safety came first. She embarked on this journey alongside some of her cousins in hopes of joining her mom, who was already in the United States. Johanna was very scared about not knowing what exactly was waiting for her and remembers shaking at the thought of having to cross the United States’ southern border with Mexico. She explains that people in her hometown made “El Norte” out to be a perfect place full of opportunities, but she did not realize the high price she would have to pay to make it there.

Her constant fear, however, only helped keep her goal in mind to make a better life for herself and help her grandparents back home. When she successfully crossed the U.S.-Mexico border, she remembers being lost in a desert-like place in the cold for an entire night, after which her and the group she traveled with were found and detained. She was held for about 18 hours before being transferred to a shelter for almost a month. Johanna remembers that she had no freedom there and was always under strict supervision. Unlike Nehamias and Alex, her experience was characterized by the poor treatment of both children and adults, who were not given any privacy or attention. Johanna remembers that all people were treated disrespectfully, no matter their age. Once her mom was able to gather the necessary documents, Johanna left the shelter and was reunited with her mom after many years. She started school not long after and faced her biggest obstacle yet, not knowing the language. With only a very limited knowledge of English, she recalls being afraid of being deemed an outcast for her lack of understanding. As time went on and she grew more comfortable, Johanna became increasingly less fearful of expressing herself and started assimilating to her new American lifestyle. Not being faced with the easiest circumstances, she admits struggling to maintain a positive mindset but has ultimately learned to use her past challenges to become a better person and make the most of the opportunities she now has.

As a minority in this country, Hispanic immigrants are often judged without being fully understood. While it is hard to believe that people so young are forced to run from their homes, it is a truth that is very close to our community here in South Gate. As students, we can help them adapt to their new lives by making them feel welcomed in this strange new environment. It is just a matter of taking the time to understand their backgrounds and stories to become aware of all their personal struggles and learn to value the life that we have here in the United States.

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Image Caption: Nehemias Rivera, one of the Latin American immigrants who was interviewed, is seen to be adapting well to his new life here with the help of his new Ram family.

 

 

EL SUEÑO AMERICANO EN SOUTH GATE

escrito por Jessica Ramirez

El tema de la inmigración siempre parece ser una gran parte de las noticias de hoy, y no de la mejor manera. Los conceptos erróneos acerca de que los inmigrantes latinoamericanos son violentos, agresivos e inhumanos, a menudo se propagan y crean una generalización inexacta. La población estadounidense está polarizada entre ser pro y anti inmigrante, una división que se profundiza por los prejuicios anti inmigrantes de nuestro propio Presidente. Su notorio lema “Haz que América vuelva a ser un gran país otra vez” y su connotación despreciativa contribuyen a la luz negativa bajo la cual los inmigrantes son percibidos con demasiada frecuencia. El público acepta rápidamente las afirmaciones y estadísticas falsas creadas por el Presidente, lo que lleva a muchos a formular opiniones basadas en información inexacta.

Entretanto, las personas, con frecuencia, hacen suposiciones sobre los inmigrantes y sus motivos para venir a este país, no muchos se toman el tiempo para comprender sus experiencias y luchas personales. Puede ser imposible creer o incluso entender que hay estudiantes en nuestra propia escuela preparatoria de South Gate que han enfrentado innumerables retos para obtener las cosas que usualmente no apreciamos. Este no es un problema ajeno que sólo vemos en las noticias, pero son nuestros propios compañeros de clase, vecinos y amigos. Algunos inmigrantes llegaron a este país cuando eran niños pequeños y pudieron comenzar la escuela a tiempo. Sin embargo, otros han llegado recientemente y se enfrentan a muchos obstáculos culturales y sociales antes de lograr el sueño americano. Mientras que las luchas que han enfrentado en sus viajes de inmigración individuales fueron lo suficientemente desafiantes, estos niños todavía están sujetos a las generalizaciones odiosas hechas por nuestros propios líderes políticos.

Llegar a un nuevo país solo y sin saber el idioma es una realidad difícil para algunos estudiantes de nuestra escuela. Nehemias Rivera, por ejemplo, es un inmigrante recién llegado de Honduras. Con sólo 17 años de edad, ha visto y a pasado por

muchas cosas que lo han llevado a buscar una vida mejor aquí en los Estados Unidos. Habiendo dejado su país de origen hace siete meses, Nehemias todavía se está adaptando a su vida nueva en este país y apenas comienza a comprender el idioma. A pesar de las dificultades, expresa la sensación surrealista que sintió al llegar, al saber que se había ganado una oportunidad a una vida mejor.

Tras la muerte de su madre hace dos años, Nehemias recuerda que “nada fue igual”, ya que su padre no estuvo a la altura de las responsabilidades de ser padre soltero. Al no contar con el apoyo de su padre, no tuvo otra opción que dejarlo a él y a sus dos hermanos en busca de oportunidades educativas en los Estados Unidos. Asumió la peligrosa tarea de cruzar tres fronteras (de Honduras a Guatemala, de Guatemala a México y de México a los Estados Unidos) solo, pero mantuvo sus esperanzas dirigidas a llegar a los EE. UU. donde lo esperaba su tío y dos primos. Nehemías admite haber tenido miedo de cruzar la frontera entre Guatemala y México, por la violencia que ahí se vive, pero también se mostró entusiasmado con todas las nuevas oportunidades que se le ofrecerían, en particular las de ir a la escuela.

Después de un largo viaje a través de México, Nehemias cruzó la frontera de México-EE. UU. pero fue detenido allí durante 60 días. Admite que el trato que recibió él en el centro de detención no fue tan malo como se dice en las noticias; tenía donde dormir y le daban tres comidas al día. Sin embargo, notó que esto pudo deberse a que es menor de edad, ya que había adultos que él recuerda que fueron tratados con falta de respeto. Ya en el segundo semestre de su primer año escolar, Nehemias aún está aprendiendo inglés y tratando de adaptarse a este nuevo entorno escolar con el apoyo de nuestra comunidad escolar. Aunque extraña a su padre y sus hermanos en Honduras, expresa sus esperanzas de poder volver a verlos pronto.

Hace cuatro años, otro estudiante en nuestro campus, Alex, atravesaba luchas similares a las que describió Nehemías. Alex también compartió su historia de inmigración y las razones que lo forzaron a venir a los Estados Unidos. Con 17 años de edad, Alex dejó su país natal, El Salvador, cuando solamente tenía 13 años. Después de haber estado separado de sus padres durante nueve años, dejó a sus abuelos (con quienes vivía en ese tiempo) y se fue él solo a los Estados Unidos para reencontrarse con sus padres. Huyendo de la violencia de su ciudad natal, él estaba asustado pero a la vez emocionado de comenzar una nueva vida con sus padres. Cuando Alex llegó a la frontera México-EE. UU, lo llevaron a un centro de detención de San Diego donde lo mantuvieron durante aproximadamente 12 horas. Al igual que Nehemias, Alex recuerda haber sido tratado bien en comparación con los adultos, esto es algo, dice Alex, que los medios de comunicación no exponen al público. Cuando lo liberaron, lo enviaron a un refugio en Phoenix, Arizona, donde lo mantuvieron durante un mes antes de poder reunirse con sus padres, a quienes no había visto desde que tenía cuatro años.

Alex comenzó su primer año de preparatoria sin saber nada de inglés, un desafío que él admite fue de los más difíciles de superar. A pesar de los problemas iniciales, él ahora habla inglés con fluidez y le va bien en la escuela. Estando en su último año de preparatoria, no planea ir a la universidad, pero desea obtener un trabajo que le permita trabajar con automóviles. Admite que su mayor obstáculo fue tener que emigrar solo y enfrentarse al temor constante de que no se le permitiera quedarse en el país con sus padres. Durante estos cuatro años, no ha regresado a El Salvador y extraña a sus abuelos, pero se ha acostumbrado a su nueva vida aquí en los Estados Unidos.

Mientras es difícil conseguir el apoyo familiar para emigrar a un país completamente nuevo, para una estudiante de 17 años de edad en South Gate, una familia, sintiendo una gran desesperación, fue la motivación que le contribuyó a ella, emigrar. Johanna abandonó su país natal, El Salvador, cuando solamente tenía 14 años. Huía de la violencia creciente en su comunidad y temía por su seguridad, razón por la cual sus abuelos la alentaron a intentar venir a los Estados Unidos. Johanna no quería dejar la comodidad de su familia y temía no poder volver a verlos, pero también comprendió que su seguridad era lo primero. Emprendió en este viaje junto a algunos de sus primos con la esperanza de unirse a su madre, quien ya estaba en los Estados Unidos. Johanna estaba muy asustada por no saber qué le esperaba y recuerda haberse estremecido ante la idea de tener que cruzar la frontera sur de los Estados Unidos con México. Explica que las personas en su ciudad natal hicieron de “El Norte” un lugar perfecto lleno de oportunidades, pero no se dio cuenta del alto precio que tendría que pagar para llegar allí.

Su miedo constante, sin embargo, sólo ayudó a mantener su objetivo en mente a hacer una vida mejor para sí misma y ayudar a sus abuelos en El Salvador. Cuando cruzó con éxito la frontera entre EE. UU. Y México, recuerda haber estado perdida en un lugar desértico y frío durante toda una noche, después de lo cual ella y el grupo con el que viajaba fueron encontrados y detenidos. La detuvieron durante aproximadamente 18 horas y después la trasladaron a un refugio durante casi un mes. Johanna recuerda que no tenía libertad allí y que siempre estaba bajo estricta supervisión. A diferencia de Nehamias y Alex, su experiencia se caracterizó por el maltrato de niños y adultos, a quienes no se les brindó ninguna privacidad o atención. Johanna recuerda que todas las personas fueron tratadas con falta de respeto, sin importar su edad. Una vez que su madre pudo reunir los documentos necesarios, Johanna abandonó el refugio y se reunió con su madre después de muchos años. Comenzó la escuela poco después y enfrentó su mayor obstáculo, no saber el idioma. Con un conocimiento muy limitado del inglés, recuerda haber tenido miedo de ser marginalizada por su falta de comprensión. A medida que pasaba el tiempo y ella se sentía más cómoda, Johanna sintió cada vez menos miedo de expresarse y comenzó a asimilarse a su nuevo estilo de vida estadounidense. Al no enfrentarse con las circunstancias más fáciles, admite tener que luchar por mantener una mentalidad optimista, pero ha aprendido a usar sus desafíos del pasado para convertirse en una mejor persona y aprovechar las oportunidades que ahora tiene a su alcance.

Como minoría en este país, los inmigrantes hispanos a menudo son juzgados sin que se les entienda completamente. Mientras es difícil creer que las personas tan jóvenes se ven obligadas a huir de sus hogares, es una verdad muy cercana a nuestra comunidad aquí en South Gate. Como estudiantes, podemos ayudarlos a adaptarse a sus vidas nuevas haciéndolos sentir bienvenidos a este nuevo y extraño lugar. Es sólo cuestión de tomarse el tiempo para comprender sus testimonios e historias para estar conscientes de todas sus luchas personales y aprender a valorar la vida que tenemos aquí en los Estados Unidos.

 

Notas de la imagen: Se considera que Nehemias Rivera, uno de los inmigrantes latinoamericanos entrevistados, se está adaptando bien a su nueva vida aquí con la ayuda de su nueva familia Ram.

The Fight Against Bullying: What can you do to help?

By Jessica Ramirez

Throughout the past few years, we have seen the rise of many social media platforms as a result of new technologies. These often serve as great methods of communication that facilitate interactions with others, however, they also provide a platform for inappropriate actions like bullying and harassment to take place. With the conclusion of October, National Bullying Prevention Month, it is important to raise awareness among our peers and educate each other about what bullying really is, how to stop it, and how to prevent it from continuing in the future.

Bullying can be defined as the act of belittling someone through physical, verbal, or emotional unwanted aggression. Although traditionally depicted as a form of physical abuse, the increasing use of social media, and other forms of online interaction, have resulted in increased reports of cyber-bullying. This new digital age has allowed for bullying to follow students from school to their homes, which is a burden that often becomes too much for students to handle. The physical and emotional stress that bullying can have on young minds can have long-term effects that prevent students from succeeding in school or leading normal lives. Because of this, it is important that we all work towards eradicating bullying in all its forms in order to maintain a healthy and safe learning environment for everyone regardless of gender, ethnicity, race, sexual orientation, and socio-economic status.

The following are ways in which you could make a change here in South Gate High School:

  1. Speak up: Whether you are a victim of bullying or a witness of it, the right thing to do is always to report it to a trusted adult. No matter how insignificant some things may seem, reporting it is the best way to prevent it from evolving into a chronic issue. Often, victims of bullying don’t speak up out of fear, making it that much more important to provide a voice to those who don’t have one.
  2. Talk to the people around you: Students who are bullied often don’t talk about their feelings, which is a big reason why bullies are able to further their aggressions. By providing an outlet to those who bottle up their feelings, you can provide some form of relief to people who are being bullied.

Set a good example: Many high school students tend to overlook bullying as a relevant issue, thus, allowing it to continue happening without being addressed. It is never a bad idea to be kind to everyone around you because this can make others feel welcome in a setting where they usually aren’t. Be respectful of others and consider their feelings, even if they are different from yours. At the end of the day, we must stand together to get rid of bullying and create a greater change in society.

Books over the Movies?

by: Emely Martinez

Some might say it’s undeniable that a book usually blasts its movie version out of the water. Reasons may vary but based on research, some of the common excuses are because the “movie gets lost” and the directors spin the story to their own take without the actual author sitting by their side. Books also allow the reader to “put it together”. Some movies could be more powerful because they play like books. Without the power of the visuals, books allow readers to put together the story and details in their minds. However, if reading isn’t something you’re interested in and you prefer movies over the books, Mercy Thomas (senior) might have similar reasons as to why:

  1. “I can actually see instead of only imagining. In a book, I create the characters and scenario. In a movie, I actually see and hear them!”
  1. “A movie takes about 90 minutes to an hour. While the corresponding book takes me 2 weeks or more.”
  2. “Action happens faster -and better- in movies. When it takes place in a book, since each scene is described in words, it happens slower than in real life, or without the same intensity.”
  3. mercy.pngMercy Thomas, Senior