By Coal Ahime Ruiz
Angel De Alba, a Jalisco native, immigrated to the United States at the age of 14 to reunite with his father, who had relocated to the United States to provide a better life for his family. He was immediately enrolled in Benton Middle School after arriving here, where he struggled to keep up due to a significant language barrier. He was able to take English classes before coming here, but they were insufficient for him to maintain a conversation. He didn’t feel like he fit in at school or in society, feeling lonely and like a pin in a stack.
Angel recalls telling his father on his first day of school that he couldn’t do it, that he couldn’t adapt to a new nation, culture, society, language, and a new life. Not to be discouraged any longer, he took a break from school and did everything he could to assist him to improve his language skills. Angel was encouraged to overcome all odds and learn from it by taking English classes, reading small books with small stories, and even watching TV in English as much as possible. Not only did he use his feelings of loneliness and frustration to propel him, but he was also able to communicate with his cousins in English. With this assistance, he was able to travel to Waite, where he made wonderful friends who made the transition much easier.
Not only did this experience change him, but he also used it to his advantage, allowing him to grow and obtain a better grasp of his capabilities. With his charisma and motivation, he was able to place in the Top 10 of our graduating class and participate in programs, clubs, and athletics, including our school’s soccer team, CSF, AVID, and Cerritos College’s President Scholars Academy. It is also with his faith, that he also takes pride and is grateful for being catholic as it helped him keep a clear head and that good will come to those who work for it. He would like to express his gratitude to his friends, family, instructors, and tutors for making all of this possible and for assisting him in achieving his objectives. Now that he has been reclassified as a fluent English speaker, he wishes to inspire others who have had to adapt to a new environment to not give up and to keep working hard, because one day everyone will achieve their full potential.
His advice to other students is to get involved in as many activities as possible to not only get unique experiences and outstanding awards but also to value any kind of aid and direction, particularly from our amazing instructors. Angel hopes to pursue Kinesiology or Exercise and Sports Science after high school because he wants to be a physical therapist or an athletic trainer, and thus support and assist his parents as they have always done for him and his three younger siblings. He also hopes that not only his peers, but also his siblings will see that with hard work, devotion, and support, everything is achievable. He hopes that his experience inspires others to not only achieve and pursue their goals but also to keep pushing forward no matter what obstacles they face.