Benteen Elementary School’s world language teacher Maria Eugenia Perez-Marrero is passionate about carrying out the vision of the English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) Program at APS, teaching first through fifth graders Spanish and being a source of information for Spanish speaking families.
I chose APS because it has high standards and it is a truly diverse community. And now with the integration movement where there are many immigrants, and many are Venezuelans because of our situation, APS has provided a very good reception and has a great interest in these students integrating and [becoming a] part of the APS community.
Wow! Yes, I have many. But there is one that honestly brought tears to my eyes. I had a student that came to visit me not too long ago that was about to leave middle school. She is of Hispanic origin, her parents are Hispanic, and she read and wrote what you told her, but she was not able to do independent writing. So, at that time, I was talking about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.. What were the principles of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., why he fought, what was his dream. I gave her a piece of paper and I told her, ‘I want you to write to me your dream.’ And when I read [what she wrote] I cried, because she said that her dream was to see that the president of the United States didn’t see Hispanics as a threat, but that Hispanics also came here to work and forge this country. And when I saw that, a girl who is capable of writing that in fifth grade, I felt super happy. And she wrote it for me both in English and in Spanish. That has been one of many, but the one that has struck me the most.