Faculty recounts migration stories for student support


Bianca Salgado

Paula Pereira addresses the audience in the teleconference center. In her presentation Pereira, who migrated from Brazil, described her struggles moving into California with her family. Photo credit: Bianca Salgado

Claudia Cazares, Staff Writer

Paula Massadas Pereira Library Technical clerk and Author of the book “How I Learned English:The Story of a Brave Mexican Girl ” held a presentation that included readings, discussions and a book signing.

In her presentation Pereira, who migrated from Brazil, described her struggles moving into California with her family.

“Saying goodbye to my family and friends was really hard, she explained, “Especially to my grandma she could not see us when we left it was too painful.”

The Language barrier made the transition that much more difficult. So that it’s where Paula decided to take ESL classes at Cerritos College.

That really made an impact in her life as she described, after nine years she is doing what she loves, forming part of Cerritos College and working with students.

After the audience met the story behind Paula on a personal level, the ceremony continued by welcoming Cerritos College ESL students on stage to share their experiences and difficulties migrating from their country to California and how language played a hardship.

Students briefly shared their hardships and experiences with the audience which, brought emotion to both the speaker and those present There were laughs and tears during this moment.

There was a contest held prior to the presentation were students wrote an essay on their experiences in migrating into a different country.

At the end of the ceremony the winners for the essay contest were revealed, which included:

  • First place winner, Maria Gonzalez, English major,
  • Second place winner, Hang “Tina” Huynh, forensic psychology major,

Rodriguez, first place winner, briefly described her hardship and how she related to most of the ESL students, “I was born in California, and I left at the age of two to Mexico.

“I came back during my middle school years, I was 11. From learning the language and adapting to the fast pace enviorment here, everything it rushed it was really different for me.”

Huynh, second place winner described her experience in learning the language, “Cerritos College, is a great college for any ESL student. I’ve been to different colleges this is not my first one, but they were not good.

“I love the teachers, students and staff. Instructors encourage me to study, to try harder and harder. I feel really thankful for that. I came here for the American dream and this is where I start.”