ESL 91
SPRING, 2003

These essays were written by students in class. They received a minimal amount of feedback from the instructor.

Nihorka 1
Nihorka 2

Julio Cardenas
ESL 91
Spring, 2003

Essay Topic: each of us has one person who has made a difference in our lives. For some of us, this person may be a family member; for others, a teacher; for others, a friend. Think of the one person who has been most influential in your life. Describe the influence that person had on you, and explains why you believe she/he has been so important in your life.

A Strong Influence

Each person has someone that has made a difference in his/her life. In many case or circumstances when we are children, we adopt someone, for example, a cartoon hero or a movie star, as an influential figure that gives to us another view of life. In other cases, the influential person may be a family member, a relative, or a teacher. However, in my situation, the influential person who made a change in my life is one of my friends, George Nieves.

My life was dominated by fear to make the wrong decisions I was afraid of myself, and I found myself different from others in the school and everywhere because I could not speak English like other people. However, that was before I met George Nieves, a Spanish 52-year-old man, a veteran of the Vietnam War.

George is a man that has suffered many emotional problems in his life. When he was early in his 20’s, he was sent to Vietnam, where he was very affected emotionally by everything that he did and saw in the war. When he came back to the United States, George was depressed, but he went back to the school. In college, George studied physical education. After studying, he was interested in sports and physical recreation, so he worked with children and teenagers. He was interested in helping the children and teenagers because he wanted to take them off the street and give them a better future with sports discipline. He got a job with the New York City Park and Recreation department, where he worked for many years with a good reputation and admiration. However, his life started to change; his bad dream from Vietnam was always around him. George was affected psychologically. He was very affected by the drugs used as medicines. For the reason he became addicted to marijuana because he found it as the only method to get out of his problems and kill his emotional pain. Those problems cost him his job.

Five-years later George started to work again. He worked at a recreational center for children and teens that wanted to be boxers. George was a voluntary worker in this place before I met him. After a few months, we become friends. He was very interested in talking with me about school and education but unfortunately, I was out of the school by this time, so I did not bring any topics to the conversation. I had graduated from high school, but I was scared to go to college because I was afraid of my English. However George motivated me to study, read books about sports, nutrition and other subjects. After this help that George gave me, I wanted to come to Kings borough Community College to improve my English and study physical education. In addition, he motivated me to study hard every day to progress more.

I believe that when people help others to accomplish goals everything comes easily, and this person does not need to be a perfect human, a super hero from a cartoon show or a movie star to be a great and positive influential person. In some cases like mine, this influential person can be a simple person with defects and problems that people in some cases face. I give thanks to George, who now is retired from his job; I give merit for everything that he did for me and for being a strong influence in my life.

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Nihorka Hernández
ESL 91
Spring, 2003

Essay Topic: each of us has one person who has made a difference in our lives. For some of us, this person may be a family member; for others, a teacher; for others, a friend. Think of the one person who has been most influential in your life. Describe the influence that person had on you, and explains why you believe she/he has been so important in your life.

People who have made a difference in my life

In our lives, we always have a person that is very important for us. That person can be our lover, teacher, or friend. I have two special persons in my life. These people are my children. They are my twin boys and their names are Brian and Dionis. They are everything in my life. They helped influence me to be the best that I can be.

Before I had my children, I never thought that children were so important and serious. My life was different because I had the freedom to enjoy life and to do a lot of things. For example; I traveled more often and went out to the movies, to the discotheque, and other places.

When my children were born, my life changed completely because I had the role of a mother. Since that time, I couldn’t go to every place with them because they were hyperactive babies. During their growth, I could not keep my eyes off of from them because if I did, I would lose sight of them because they would be running and jumping around the place like two little monkeys. I could not even go to the disco and casinos with my sons because these places are for adults only. My sons influenced me to become more serious in my life. For this reason, now, I think twice about every decision I make in my life. 

My sons have been good children because I gave them a good discipline at home. I forbid them to go out alone until I am sure and believe that they can cope with all the dangers that are on the street and any places outside. I also don’t allow them to get along with bad peers because if they get along with bad friends, then they will learn bad moves. For example; they could get addicted to drugs or to smoke. Or maybe they will try to imitate these bad people. For instance; they could become killers, robbers, or rapists. So far, my sons have understood me everything that I told them about drugs and smoking. For this reason, I am very proud of them because they are very obedient children. I hope to God that in the future, all my efforts will not have been in vain.

I try to do all my best for my children because I love them a lot. They also gave me the strength to return to school and finish my education. In the future, I want them to follow in my footsteps and finish their education too because I do not want them to suffer in their lives. I would desire that they have their own good jobs. I also wish with all my heart that my children become good men because these days, anything can happen. I just expect in the future that they will struggle to become good sons, husbands and fathers.

They will always be special in my life. My sons have influenced me to appreciate many things in life, including the time I spend with them and to not take things for granted. I have become more organized because of them. I prioritize my time according to what I feel is more important. I try to spend quality time with my sons. My children have been so important in my life. They are my life, my strength and my heart. Without them, my life isn’t the same. They are the only ones that I have in my life and that I know care about me.

As I have said many times before, my children have made a difference in my life. Without them, my life would have no sense. I believe that it is very important to have someone beside us because we never know when this person will do us a big favor, to make a difference in our lives.

Innel Exume
ESL 91
Spring, 2003

Essay Topic: each of us has one person who has made a difference in our lives. For some of us, this person may be a family member; for others, a teacher; for others, a friend. Think of the one person who has been most influential in your life. Describe the influence that person had on you, and explains why you believe she/he has been so important in your life.


The person who has the most influence in my life is my mother.  She has always stood by my side whether in good times or in bad.  Although my father has always been in my life I have had a closer relationship with my mom.  I admire my mom the most because she is easy to talk to, always willing and ready to listen to me even if I don’t make sense sometimes.  When I am feeling lonely I can pick up the phone and call her and in a matter of seconds I feel better.  My mom is my first girlfriend.  The reason I say this is because in my relationships whenever I needed some advice she was there for me.  She has taught me to be respect and treat others exactly the way I want to be treated.  My mom always tells me “to help other people especially the old ones because that would make you remember your grandmother every time you see an old lady. What ever it might be you still have to help other people who cannot help themselves so God will help no matter the circumstances”. 

My mom knows me so well; She knows when I am hungry, happy, sad, and broke.  My mom is very important to my life; She is my hero.  She is a hard working women who has raised five strong children on a tight budget and practically by herself.  She has put clothes on our backs and still has the time to listen to us.  If this isn’t amazing I don’t know what is, She has encouraged me to stay in school and make something of myself.  It is because of that I am still here strong today.  No matter how old I get I’m still her baby.  A mother’s loves is truely amazing.  It doesn’t matter if your ugly, beautiful physically or mentally challenged your mother still loves you.  I don’t know what I would I do if she weren’t around.  Her support and love is what keeps going day by day. 

In conclusion the person who has had the most influence on my life will be my mom.  This is because of the encouragement she has has given me the morals she has instilled in me and the ability to work hard to achieve my goals.     

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Nihorka Hernandez
ESL 91
Spring, 2003

Essay Topic: Write a letter to the person with whom you most disagree in which you present your argument against his/her position on global warming. Be sure to use persuasive evidence to support your position. This persuasive evidence should consist of references to and quotes from texts written by those who support your opinion. Begin your letter with “Dear _____:”

Dear Dr. Fred S. Singer:

I am writing this letter to you because I have heard some comments about you and the global warming. I know that you don’t believe that global warming could be a danger for our planet. You think we should not worry about it. But with all my respect, I want to tell you that I disagree with your opinion because the earth cannot take care of itself. The earth needs our help to give us a better life. We have to realize that the earth is our home. We cannot forget about it because it is our responsibility to take care of the earth.

Dr. Singer, I think that all the problems that we are facing with global warming cannot wait because the earth could be sinking little by little. You, Dr. Singer say, “If the ocean warms, the water will expand and sea level will rise.” And you also say, “Mountain glaciers will tend to melt and therefore, add water to rivers, and rivers will add the water to the ocean, and that also will produce a rise.” Can you imagine if this happens? The coastal areas in America, Gulf, Europe, South Atlantic and most islands of this planet could be destroyed. Most people and animals of this world would have to live in the mountains because it is the higher place to live without danger of dying by drowning. Human beings and animals could also die because they would not have enough food to eat and clean water to drink. However, they need food and water to survive. For that reason, it is very important that ocean and rivers stay calm for our good.

In addition, it is very important that we take care of the global warming now because in this world, there are a lot of chemicals that can harm the atmosphere of the earth. These chemicals can also kill people, animals, plants and any creatures that live on this planet. These chemicals could give us any type of diseases up to a point that human beings and animals could die. You, Dr. Singer say, “Since aerosols are mostly emitted in the northern hemisphere, where industrial activities are rampant, we would expect the northern hemisphere to be warming less quickly than the southern hemisphere. In fact, we would expect the northern hemisphere to be cooling. But the data show the opposite. Both the surface data and the satellite data agree that, in the last 20 years, the northern hemisphere has warmed more quickly than the southern hemisphere.”  Are you telling us that the northern hemisphere has warmed up faster than the southern hemisphere? Aerosols could be very harmful for the atmosphere of the earth. What would happen if both hemispheres warmed up at the same time? I think the temperature would rise so high that it would affect the climate of the earth. For example; Instead of having a cool winter, we would have a hot winter. People and any creatures of this world would not find a place to live and this would cause the death to all human beings.

Dr. Singer, the earth is our home. If we do not take care of the earth now, then later it would be too late. People must know how to protect our world and prevent bad things from happening. Otherwise, in the future people will struggle for survival.

Dr. Singer, I want to thank you for taking your time to read my letter carefully and thoroughly. Thank you again.

Nihorka Hernandez

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Tatyana Ilkiv
ESL 91
Spring, 2003

Essay topic: We learn many lessons in school.  Not all of them, however, are valuable or for our own good.  Some things taught in school can even go against what our parents, our religion or our culture have taught us.  Develop an essay in which you discuss how some of the lessons taught at school may sometimes cause trouble when they conflict with the values, traditions or beliefs learned at home.  In your essay, be sure to refer to the essay by Dick Gregory.

The school time is a very important period of the life.  During the school years children grow up not only as physically, they grow up psychologically and at the end of the school years they form an identity.  While children grow up they learn a lot of things.  They get knowledge from different subjects, but also they learn moral lessons.

According to the reading “ Shame “, by Dick Gregory we know that some lessons which children learned at school may cause trouble when they conflict with the values, beliefs and moral learned at home.  Dick Gregory explained to us in his essay how he learned shame.  He gave us an example of how some lessons transformed his life.  He said,” I never learned hate at home, or shame.  I had to go to school for that”.

During the time before children go to school all of them are happy.  For children it doesn’t matter who their parents are, what kind of work they do, what language they speak, what color they are or whether their family is wealthy or not.  By children’s psychology at this age they don’t pay attention to all of these things.  All children know that they’re wonderful.

Usually children get the first experience of atrocity at school.  The person, who stays with children during the school time, is the teacher.  The teacher is a leader, and we-parents, teach our children that they have to listen their teacher and to do what the teacher asks.  We send our children to school with hope that they’re comfortable, that their teacher is a wonderful, polite and kind person.  We aren’t imagining that something could be bad.  As I said before, the teacher is a leader for children, and the teacher’s opinion is like a law for them.  By teacher’s opinion and behavior to somebody children build their places in class. 

For example in his story he said,” In classroom I learned to be ashamed of myself.  Teacher thought I couldn’t spell, read, just was stupid”.   That example allowed us to see that the teacher wasn’t interested in what the child was as a person.  She didn’t try to understand why this little boy couldn’t concentrate at school and she always put him down.

In my opinion she was just a “robot-teacher”, not a human teacher.  The problems that children got in the childhood often cause some complexes, and could destroy the person’s whole life.

I can give an example of shame from my experience.  I will speak about my older son.  He is very nice person.  We always were good friends.   We spend most of our time together and never had a sad time, until something happened at school.  I noticed that my child was in a bad mood.  He wanted to walk with me near school.  He didn’t speak to me in our language if somebody from his class stood close to us.  After some time I found out that every day the children in the class mocked him as,” stupid Russian” because he didn’t know the English language.  The teacher didn’t pay attention to him.  That happened after we had been in America for a couple of months.  My son went to school without English language at the age of eight years.  At the beginning he didn’t understand the teacher, didn’t know what homework he had to do.  He failed the first tests.  He was ashamed to answer the questions aloud in front of the class; he was afraid to make mistakes.  When I tried to ask the teacher about something, my son ran away.  He was ashamed of me.  He was ashamed of our language and culture.  I think that sometimes he hated me.   Our interrelations were destroyed.

It took a lot of time to make him believe in himself.  Three years passed.  My son learned English.  Now he speaks and understands English better than his native language.  Every month he becomes student of the month, but until today he couldn’t avoid the label, which he got many years ago.  I hope that I can help him by my love and belief in him.

I read this article and felt heartache because I understood very well what feelings this little boy had.  Everybody who has children loves them more than any other children in the world.  Every parent thinks and believes that their children are smart, bright, kind and well mannered.  This is a good way to raise them, as good persons because we give them our love, belief, and a chance to be better than they often are.  I believe that by our stimulation we can save children’s personality from some bad lessons, for the best future.

Page last updated on June 2, 2003