« Federal Funding for Foreign Languages Curtailed | Main | Insight on Why Bilingual Children May Reject a Language »

5th Grader's Poem: 'He Loved America Both Good and Bad'

A California 5th grader's poem about her grandfather, an immigrant from China, has been selected as the winning entry for the "Celebrate America" contest sponsored by the Washington-based American Immigration Council. (Hat tip to ImmigProf Blog.)

With the contest, volunteer attorneys visit 5th grade classrooms to talk about immigration and provide information about the competition. This year's judges included big names such as Randi Weingarten, the president of the America Federation for Teachers, and U.S. Senator Dan Inouye, a Democrat from Hawaii.

Maya Young Wong, a student at Castelar Elementary School in Altadena, Calif., based her winning poem on the life of her "Grandfather Ben," who died before she was born, but whose life was honored in stories told to Maya by her grandmother.

I like how the poem reflects Maya's understanding that her grandfather's life wasn't easy in the United States. When it came to jobs, "chances for Chinese were least to fewest," she says. After getting shot as a soldier in World War II, she writes, "He didn't win any fame or medals/Just came back home to wed and settle."

She concludes, "He loved America both good and bad."

For teachers looking for an assignment on immigration that will provide students with an authentic audience, next year's 'Celebrate America' contest might be the answer.

Notice: We recently upgraded our comments. (Learn more here.) If you are logged in as a subscriber or registered user and already have a Display Name on edweek.org, you can post comments. If you do not already have a Display Name, please create one here.
Ground Rules for Posting
We encourage lively debate, but please be respectful of others. Profanity and personal attacks are prohibited. By commenting, you are agreeing to abide by our user agreement.
All comments are public.

Follow This Blog


Most Viewed on Education Week



Recent Comments

  • Charles: ELLs in our state ARE required to take State standardized read more
  • Melissa: Maybe I'm just becoming jaded, but this feels to me read more
  • Anonymous: Are you kidding me....UNO is an organizaion that literally destroys read more
  • Meg Baker: Are any schools using ACCESS scores for purposes other than read more
  • Dr. Mendoza: This is great news i must say. Hopefully this DREAM read more