The advanced students are pictured with their teacher and volunteers at the end of the year celebration.

Samples of Advanced Students’ Writing

“My general emotion to our political climate is fear. I feel more afraid in general and I see more violence. Last year, I felt very sad when Trump was elected. The change has been for evil and it has stayed the same that both parties have voted against the interests of immigrants. I see more racist people and more terrorist attacks. My fears are that my kids will have a very violent and racist political and social atmosphere.

I really have seen nothing positive, but maybe I just did not notice it. I am afraid there could be a world war with a president like the one we have now. My hopes are that President Trump can leave something positive in this amazing country.” – Xiomara 

I don’t really get involved in politics. An environment of insecurity was created due to knowing that Donald Trump was really the president. Many things have changed since he became president; there is sadness, fear and discrimination towards immigrants and people of color.

Everyone can see that the immigrant system is still broken. Many have become racist and have done bad things against the immigrant community or people of color. People who do not like immigrants feel supported by the president. They think it is correct to act against them because they have the right to express their feelings. One of my worst fears is seeing families torn apart and being separated.

The American community is aware of the hard work and the great contribution that immigrants provide to the country’s economy. Agencies that support immigrants have become stronger and are doing everything they can to protect them.

My hopes are that everyone works together as one community and protects each other. I hope Trump creates a fair immigration reform for everyone. If Trump and his administration do not work together to create a citizenship path for many people who are eligible, more families will be torn apart. Sadness and suffering will be increased. This country will be in total chaos if its immigration system doesn’t get fixed.” – Dunia

I feel fine in this political climate. I am OK for that since last year. I feel racism, but I think it has not changed. I think it has stayed the same.

People come from other countries. They have difficulty getting a visa to stay in America. I see some groups are against protecting them. Some important places have been attacked. I fear more places will be attacked.

We are going to have expensive health insurance, and will pay more tax. We hope to get a low rate for health insurance, low rates for taxes and more jobs.

I think it will be very hard for new immigrants to get a visa to come to the USA.” –Shirley

When Obama won the presidential election, it was a historic moment for Americans and for the whole world. The US was proving to the world they “were over” racism and they were a country ready for change and full of hopes. It was a very emotional moment and a great message to all of us.

Eight years later, we experienced an opposite feeling. The presidential election was based on destroying the candidates’ images. The majority of the voters were trying to find out who was the lesser evil: Hilary or Trump. They couldn’t stomach either of those candidates. Donald Trump was demonstrating his weird personality and scaring all of us with his cold heart.

Who would believe someone with no political skills, no sensibility, no charisma, no speech skills and with only a one percent chance of being the winner, would be the next president of the United States?

Although this man shows his lack for the job he was fighting for, he, in my opinion, sent us a very strong message. The message that no matter how small your chances are, keep fighting, believing, finding strategies, being smart and your dream will come true. There’s no impossible.

Now, almost one year after this great deception and discouragement, I guess we are feeling better than one year ago. It doesn’t mean that we are happy with the situation, but we feel safer, protected by many powerful politics. They showed that they will be there for us, that we have a voice, we have rights, we matter and that we are important to this country.” – Gloria

“I remember last year at this time, I felt insecure, worried and anxious. I feel more confident now, since I have read about my human rights. For me, it was very helpful when a lawyer came to GPA to talk about our rights. That was the first information I ever got about the immigration process.

I’ve seen many ignorant people gathering together to hurt others who look or think differently than them. There are so many poorly educated people who support this administration with no intention of trying to make things better or to get involved with their communities.

In my personal experience, I have gotten a lot of support from my “white” friends. Actually, they are the ones who made me notice how bad the situation was. People around my neighborhood of Cambridge/Allston were extra nice in the streets, public transportation, stores, etc.

I hope things do not get more divided or worse in racial and socioeconomic status.”  -Liliana

I feel that with President Trump, everything is changing. I think he has been the president with the most controversy. Some negative things I have noticed are that he is removing work permits. I’m afraid that it will change things and hurt us. Things are changing little by little, things like the same politics. The changes made by the president should be good for all citizens. The economy will be affected by how it leads relations with other countries.” –Pedro

Vanishing Voices
To be one of only four fluent speakers of one language is something amazing…and sad. That’s what happens in Mexico, with the Euchee Language Speaker Kasa Henry Washbou. He is an 86-year-old man who drives 10 miles every day to teach his descendents, all children. At the same time, to be one of those kids is a gift. If I were one of them, I would not miss one class. It is like being a living dictionary. When one native language is gone, with it goes ancient wisdom and knowledge, as medicine and others.


Mythical Creature
In Brazil we have a very popular mythical creature called “Saci Pererê.”

Saci Pererê is a black boy with one leg. Even though he has only one leg he is capable of walking and doing anything like any boy with two legs. He lives alone in a forest and he is always naked, wearing a red hat and smoking a pipe!

When I was little, I got very upset about Saci Pererê because he was a very uncommon person. I could not understand how a little boy could live by himself without adult supervision, with no parents. I didn’t know how he could survive in a forest with all those wild animals and why he didn’t have any clothes. And he shouldn’t have been allowed to smoke because he was too young for it.

I didn’t like Saci Pererê, but I felt sorry for him. He wasn’t as lucky as I was. I had a family, a house, my bed, my toys, my clothes, etc…


La Llorona
I will talk about a myth of a lady that had a baby. In the story, they said she loved her baby so much but one day the baby died. She was so sad that she died from crying, but the story said that every night after she died, she was out in the street crying and saying “My baby! My baby!” Almost every night she was crying for her baby.

So in the city, most of the moms said to their kids “If you keep crying ‘La Llorona’ will come and will take you with her”, that way the kids would behave. I remember my mom used to say that to me that way I could be good or behave with her and I was so afraid of the lady that I stopped right away when I was crying for any reason because I was so afraid of her.

This myth is from Guatemala, specifically from Jutiapa, where I come from.


Pink Dolphins
The Indians call the dolphin to Viara and they say it is the God of rivers and the protector of the fish. They live in the water and transform themselves into humans. They are half-humans. They love parties and they are friendly. Pink dolphins take beautiful girls and then get them pregnant. The girls don’t know who the father is.


I have no idea about what to write, therefore I’m going to try to make my first English poem.

My poem runs like this…

… I’m going to ask for the moon
To bring shine just for your hair
and make clear your sway.

I’m going to ask for the sun
to reflect on your earring
And make warm your day.

I’m going to ask for the snow
To fall only on your Christmas tree
and make bright your party.

I’m going to renew my pop, the question,
every single day of our sharing life.

I’m going to dive into the ocean
And fish all the stars to catch and put them in your aquarium.
I’m going to fly into space
And on all the stars let your name written …



“To Lose Touch” by Adson Silva-Fernandes
I lost touch with all of my Brazilian friends.  In the last three years, I have been living so far away from some friends of mine.  Since I left my country, I lost some contacts and I have been missing all of my Brazilian friends, especially my musician friends.

If I could, I would bring at least one of them here: my friend Ded.  We would have a big party and would play together again.  I know that it is impossible.  I will have to wait and look to meet new friends.

“The Cat and the Rat” by Adson and Aleide
Once upon a time…
There was a Cat and a Rat, they lived in the same house.
The Rat thought he was really smart, when he developed a system to avoid the Cat.
Every day, when he woke up, he put his ear against the wall to listen for the Cat.

If heard the Cat, he waited go out, if heard nothing, he would go out to get his food.
One day, he heard something new:  Barking…
Then he thought, if have one Dog there must be no Cat.
He went out, to get his food.

But, before he knew it, the Cat caught him.
This was a surprise for the Rat, and he said to the Cat: Was that you?
Barking like that?
And the Cat answered: Yes, of course! In this globalized world if you don’t speak at least two languages, you can’t survive.

“To Lose Touch” by Neuza Mauro
I lost touch with my friend Isabel after we finished college in 1990.  I never forgot her.  A few days ago, while I was checking my email, she sent a message to me by Facebook.  I became very happy to find my friend again after a long time; almost twenty-one years!  We talked a lot by phone, about many things: family, husband, children, jobs, etc. Now, I’m trying to find more friends by Facebook who I have lost touch with.

Valtecir De Oliveira

In 2005 I decided to make my first trip out of Brazil.  The economy there wasn’t good and I have a friend who lives here in Boston.  He told me about the jobs and how life is.When I got here everything was different:  the houses, people, smells, life.My first job was for a Brazilian guy.  There was no problem because Portuguese is my first language.  I was helping my other Brazilian friend build a house on Cape Cod.But when I got my second job that was difficult because I didn’t understand anything.  Then I started to study English.  I took classes at home for more than two years.One day I was talking to my friend and he told me about the program English for New Bostonians in the Garden Pilot Academy and then I took a test and here I am.  Now everything is changing.  I met great people like Rita my teacher and Michelle.  I have made new friends from other countries because now I can communicate with people in English, not just the Americans, but with people from other countries who speak English as well.

“Bob Dylan” by Aleide Silva Martinelli
Seventy years ago, one of the best singers that I know was born. His name is Bob Dylan.  His voice is very unique.  You can recognize him anywhere.  When he plays his harmonica, it’s spectacular.  I was eighteen years old when I listened to him for the first time.  I didn’t know what the words meant in his songs, but I loved them at first listen.

I lived in a small town in Brasil, so far from Bob Dylan, but his songs went very far.  We just knew that he sang peace and love, not war.  He influenced a whole generation.  I’m still feeling the same way when I play his records.  Yeah, I have LPs.

Happy birthday, Bob Dylan!

“My Dream Job” by Aleide Silva Martinelli
When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a teacher when I grew up, no matter what.  I used to teach my classmates when they were not doing well in math and Portuguese.  I always earned a hundred percent in History and Portuguese.  Actually, I did well in all disciplines.

I grew up and I did not become a teacher.  I’m getting old and I’m still wanting  to be a teacher  I’m very good in my first language.  Now I’m in the USA and I’m studying English.  I’m not good yet, but I think I can be proficient one day – I hope not too far away.  I’m fifty years old.  I don’t have much time left!

Today, I’m sure I want to be a teacher in languages, Portuguese and English.

“To Lose Touch” by Aleide Silva Martinelli
I lost touch with my girlfriend Corina.  We went to the same school for four years.  She lived next door to my house since we were about twelve years old.  Then, when I was sixteen, I left my small town.  I still saw her for three years after, but after that, I never saw her again.  This morning, I was just thinking about her and wondering about her.  Maybe I ran into her somewhere, even here in Massachusetts. Why not?

What would I say to her?  Maybe nothing, just one big hug is more important than one thousand words.

“Writing My Dream” by Adson Silva Fernandes
When I was a child, I had no idea what could happen in the future.  I did not know exactly what kind of professional I wanted to be, but I remember that since my childhood, I liked to write.  Therefore, I believe it’s possible that there is some correlation between my childhood time and my present time because I have been enjoying writing.

However, if I could choose any job, of course it would be to work full-time for some newspaper.  Now I’m sure: I always wanted to be a writer.

“To Lose Touch” by Jailson Ribeiro
I lost touch with part of my family when I decided to come here to Boston.  It has now been five years and six months since we have been in touch.  We had many, many great moments there in Brazil.

So, I’m happy here, but I miss my family and friends so much that are living.  I always talk with them by phone and internet.  That helps to not miss them.

I hope to see all of my family and friends in a few years.  It would be a nice time.

“Lose Touch” by Adriana Fonseca
I have lost touch with my friend Edivaine.  She lives in Brazil and I haven’t seen her for nine years.  I met her at school and we studied together for seven years.

I would like to see her again.  I want to know if she got married, if she has children, and what she’s doing.  Actually, I’d like to know everything!  In nine years, many things can happen.

I miss her.  She was a good friend.