Senior Feature: Valle moves countries for high school

When transitioning to high school, it can be difficult to make friends, understand what is being taught, manage your time, and schedule as well. However, when making the move to a new school from a completely different country, these simple issues can become more complicated.
Senior Estefany Valle moved to the United States from Mexico right before her freshman year and entered a whole new culture. Valle describes relearning the English language as one of the hardest parts about moving to the United States. She also noticed how the way schools were run in Mexico is different compared to the US.
“The hardest part was probably getting used to speaking English again since I lived in Mexico for like seven years, I kind of forgot to say certain words,” Valle said. “Schools in Mexico are also more restricting and here you can express yourself more.”
Valle was a part of ELL (English Language Learners) program in order to make the process of learning a new language easier. History teacher, Elizabeth Gunn, was one of the teachers in ELL who helped Valle a great deal as she was getting accustomed to the language. According to Gunn, Valle was initially very shy and quiet, but Gunn could see that she was intelligent and wanted to learn. Valle said Gunn supported her and helped her during her time in the ELL program.
“We wanted to make sure Estefany was clear on what was expected and needed so she could continue her education,” Gunn said. “She has been able to stay on grade level while learning the content in her second language this is a pretty amazing feat, not something many of us are expected to do.”
Upon her arrival Valle was looking forward to continuing her education\; however, it was bittersweet as she would be leaving behind friends and family. On the other hand, since moving here Valle has made new friends and discovered that she did not leave all of her family behind.
“So far I’ve had a lot of fun living here since I’ve made a lot of friends,” Valle said. “I also met a lot of family that I didn’t even know I had.”
Gunn is proud of the amount of progress Valle has made during the time she was with her. She enjoyed having Valle as a student and has nothing but good things to say about her. Gunn believes that with everything that Valle has already accomplished, she will go on to do even more great things.
“She’s been an excellent role model for other students who are going through a similar experience,” Gunn said. “I wish her much success in the future and hope she comes back to see us from time to time.”
As Valle looks back, she has seen how much she has grown, from being very shy and quiet to now having many friends. She describes her junior year as being her favorite school year because of the bonds she made and the friendships she formed with foreign exchange students. Despite her senior year not ending the way she had imagined, she still continues to cherish the positive memories she has had over the years.
“My favorite year was probably my junior year because I was friends with almost all of the exchange students and we got to be really close,” Valle said. “Even though my senior year did not go as planned, I still had a lot of fun and I have a lot of good memories about it.”

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