It all began when we went to high school together, me and my best friend. Then he began spending time with his new friends -- and not me. I am a person who likes to pay back with the same coin. So I began to play volleyball, which got me new friends. He approached me one day and said that I was spending all my time with others. “You started leaving me for your new friend,” he said to me. “You’re the one who began to leave me for your little friend,” I replied. Finally, we went our separate ways. We haven’t talked since. That makes me feel bad. I want to be his friend again, to laugh and have fun together like before. But I don’t think it’s going to be the same because he cares more about his new friends than his old one. She was my best friend. Then she kicked me out to be with her new boyfriend. Seriously, that made me upset. So I just decided to let her feel how I feel. She has a boyfriend and, me, I have my friend. She must have been a fake friend because I was there before the new boyfriend and she replaced me. Sometimes I miss her, but I think that she doesn’t think about me and our memories. But I’m cool with that because one day she’s going to need something from me and that’s when she’s going to talk to me. I really hope we can be friends like before.
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Like many things traced back in time, it is said that perhaps the first recorded use of standardized tests originated in China, according to Time magazine, where applicants looking for government jobs were quizzed on their knowledge of the canons of Confucianism. More known in today’s world are those SATs and ACTs used by colleges to measure student achievement. Recently, a new trend has emerged with many colleges going “test-optional.” The supporters of colleges not requiring standardized test scores believe that those exams are biased toward wealthy families that have more access than others to resources such as better schools and prep classes. As an immigrant and first generation college applicant, I consider standardized tests to be highly unfair. I believe that they are stripping me of many opportunities and holding me back. I would love to apply to elite, Ivy League schools but I’m afraid to even try. I feel that I don’t even stand a chance because they will put me in the “no” pile simply by opening my test scores. I’m not the only one feeling so pessimistic. Despite having excellent GPAs and a broad range of extracurricular activities, many of us feel locked into applying to other colleges because our test scores are not up to the supposed standard marks. We don’t even get a chance to convey who we are to colleges before getting pushed to the sidelines. If we compare ourselves with privileged kids, we see that they have been preparing for their futures from an early age. If all colleges made it optional to submit test scores, students would get a better chance to show what they’re capable of doing in a school environment rather than filling in bubbles in a matter of a few hours.
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Many perspectives have been discussed in the United States about how immigrant students should be taught. Some schools are addressing the situation by giving students courses in their native languages. Others argue that teaching classes only in English will be better because students will have the opportunity to learn the language of their new country. Some believe that hosting English-only classes will make immigrant students suffer academically and emotionally. They can lose time trying to master subjects because they cannot understand the lessons. This can lead to discouragement and dropping out. Further, it may send a message that their native languages are not worthy. However, I do not throw my culture away for a language. I am from Haiti. I still keep the routine of speaking Haitian Creole with friends and family. It is important to stay connected to your country by keeping your native language. Still, to graduate and move on to college, you need to take tests in English. Speaking English as much as possible in school allows you to expand your chances of finding a job. Being bilingual allows you to help more people. The faster you learn English, the quicker you will have a chance to succeed.
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Fifteen-year-old Markanthony Williams, from the John D. O’Bryant School of Math & Science, thinks that school grades do not reflect real intelligence. “They show obedience,” he says. Even as standardized testing is being roundly criticized for not measuring true brainpower, some teens feel that grades also don’t always reveal their smarts. “Grades display the students who work hard from the students who don’t,” says Pablo Rodriguez, 16, from the Edward M. Kennedy Academy for Health Careers. Yet teens say there are those whose grades don’t tell the true story of their skill level because they are not challenged by the work and simply tune out their teachers. Naa-Juah Benton, 15, from Snowden International, says that her report card doesn’t always match her wisdom because teachers grading systems can be inconsistent. This article was prepared in collaboration with 826 Boston.
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