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Young authors publish poems

Hart classes celebrate their 'Food for Thought.'

Posted: May 9, 2008 6:50 p.m.
Updated: July 10, 2008 5:02 a.m.
Fernando Marroquin's poem, "I am From ..." tells about his home country of Guatemala, his family, and his friend Arturo, who loved basketball like Romeo loved Juliet and was murdered by gang members about a year ago on a basketball court, right in front of Fernando.

About seven months ago Fernando moved to the United states from the "red zone" in Guatemala City, the most dangerous part of Guatemala, and never dreamed he'd be a published author in his new country - or in his new language.

He and other young authors at Hart High School celebrated the publication of their creative works in the book "Food For Thought" Wednesday with a reception in the school cafeteria that featured readings from the book and, of course, food.

The students are members of two of Hart's classes for English language learners who have participated in a creative writing program offered by the CalArts Community Arts Partnership (CAP) since last October.

"The students worked on creative writing assignments that focused on their own life stories, experiences and issues of identity," said Glenna Avila, CAP director. "What's special about this group of students is that they are all English language learners, and they've come together to write a book with the help of our CalArts graduate student mentors."

One by one the students walked up to the podium to share their poems and short stories with the crowd, listened to the applause from the audience as they returned to their seats and were greeted with hugs and high fives from friends and family members.

"They learned to express themselves better and they got to play with the language, which made learning more fun," said Hart teacher Katrina Dolinsky. Dolinsky's class and the English language learners taught by Diane Babko participated in the program. "The energy and exuberance of the CalArts students inspired them."

Fernando, a Hart 10th grader, wrote about his life in the United States and his dreams for the future, but seemed most inspired by his memories of Guatemala.

"It's still pretty fresh on my mind. I love Guatemala," he said. "I still think of my family there and my friends."

Fernando said he learned a love of writing from the CalArts students.

"If they hadn't come to my class, I would never have learned to express myself like that," Fernando said.

Senior Guadelupe Perez wrote about a dream she had.

"It was a real dream that I had, and I turned it into a story," Guadelupe said. "It was my dream to come here and go to school."

Guadelupe came to the United States from Mexico five years ago. She said another dream she had was to be published in a book someday.

"So, my dream came true," she said.


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