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Can someone grammar check this for me please? Options
CDelapena2
Posted: Saturday, May 14, 2011 3:39:45 PM
Rank: Newbie

Joined: 5/14/2011
Posts: 13
Neurons: 39
Location: United States
Hi, can you guys please grammar check this for me? Also, if you have any suggestions (this is an essay on a personal statement on cultural awareness) I would gladly listen to them.

I was born in Havana, Cuba on May 15, 1994. I couldn’t have been born in a more ill-chosen country and at an even more inopportune time. Cuba was in the midst of the Special Period, a time when the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Cuba’s principal economic partner, had caused a severe economic depression very reminiscent of the Great Depression. In addition to being born during the apex of the worst economic crisis in Cuban history, I was also born underweight and contracted Herpetic Stomatitis (a bad case of mouth ulcers that forced me into an abstemious diet due to the pain of swallowing and chewing.) My chances of survival were slim but after a month of searching, a local Catholic priest found the medicine which was provided by the United States humanitarian aid donations. I gradually coalesced and on September 1998 my parents won the Cuban equivalent of the lottery and with it a ticket to El País de las Maravillas or The Wonderland which was what I called the United States.
Almost immediately after receiving news of the ticket, we left Cuba and settled in a humble abode in West New York, New Jersey. Now 5 years old, I had a father who was fluent in English (in Cuba he was a manager of a prestigious hotel and thus spoke 3 languages fluently) and a mother who would deny any conversation lest it’s in English. She was adamant about being immersed in the English language and would only tolerate a Spanish conversation with friends. Consequentially, I never spoke Spanish except for greeting my mother’s acquaintances whenever they visited and was never exposed to my own culture because we easily assimilated.
West New York was, and still is, the most culturally varied town I have ever been to. I remember walking down Palisade Avenue and seeing a Mexican restaurant one block away from a hotel with Italian signs on it and two blocks away from a mosque. The entire ethnic spectrum could be found in my small town. I was matriculated in a Tae Kwon Do class that was headed by a man native to Korea. I liked the Tae Kwon Do class but was too young to understand the intrinsic value of self-defense and too old to derive simple pleasure from the series of traditional Korean self-defense stances –done in uniform with 30 other kids- called Forms (sometimes confused with the Japanese word Kata.) To me, Forms were strange and impersonal – I felt as if I was a programmed automaton doing the same thing in an endless loop. After two years of Tae Kwon Do, I started practicing Shorin-Ryu which to this day is my favorite martial art. Shorin-Ryu was rougher (we sparred without protective equipment) and much more pugilistic (Tae Kwon Do concentrated almost exclusively on kicking.) In addition, my teacher was a stern disciplinarian and exposed us to parts of Japanese culture. To this day I can recite a few words and count to 10 in Japanese.
Every Friday night, when I went with my mom to the local Laundromat, I would always see the orthodox Jews. They had the same hair-style (two conspicuous curls on opposite sides) and wore a black turban which I found to be comical but even as a child I admired their austereness and didactic disposition toward their children. I never befriended a Jew but I always found their strong sense of kinship to be admirable. It wasn’t until moving to Miami that I found my own kinship network (albeit a loose one) and people whose roots overlap with mine.
I attended an overly crowded school, PS #1, which was just blocks away from the Hudson River. The only memory I have of my school was the infamous 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center. My school was so close to the Twin Towers that less than half an hour after the first collision, I could see a dark cumulus ascend from my 2nd grade classroom window. That day was extremely hectic, my parents were fighting against heavy traffic to pick me up and all the radios were broadcasting warnings about a terrorist attack on New York. At a little under ten years old I moved to Florida and finally reconciled with my culture.
The first thing I noticed about Miami was the huge umbrageous palm trees and the myriad of people that reminded me of my family in Cuba. And it was here that I truly realized the cultural value of being Cuban. Although I knew a handful of Cubans in New Jersey, it didn’t compare to the overwhelming numbers of Miami. It was during this time that I started actually using my knowledge of Spanish to a great degree which had hitherto been a vestige of a tongue used solely to communicate with a family long lost.
I lived in the part of Miami with the greatest amount of Cubans – Hialeah. I enrolled in another Shorin-Ryu karate school and the sensei here was just as rigid and unrelenting in teaching the art to us. My sensei was a native of Cuba who learned the art directly from Japanese sanseis hired by the Cuban government to train their soldiers. In my karate school only the students spoke English and thus I was forced to speak to speak Spanish daily. We lived –and still live- in a nice neighborhood right on the border between Hialeah and Miami lakes. All the locals only spoke Spanish and Spanish was necessary if I wanted to do anything locally. I loved it and at age 14 I picked up an interest in languages and from then to now I have taken an avid interest in my Culture and language. In October 2011, my mother finalized the reclamation of my grandmother from Cuba thus increasing my relatives in this country from 2 to 3. I’ve learned a wealth of information about my culture since my grandmother’s inception to this country and having someone so rich with knowledge of Cuba so close to me is invaluable. She has truly given me identity and given me the feeling of kinship that I admired in the Jews of the Friday night Laundromats.
DavidL
Posted: Saturday, May 14, 2011 6:41:59 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/31/2011
Posts: 212
Neurons: 655
For someone who has come through/survived the American educational system, your grammar and expression are...are...dare I use the term?...awesome. Here goes:


Also, if you have any suggestions (this is an essay on a personal statement on cultural awareness) I wouldXXXXX WILL gladly listen. to them.(Omit)

I was born in Havana, Cuba, on May 15, 1994. I couldn’t have been born in a more ill-chosen country and at an even more inopportune time. Cuba was in the midst of the Special Period, a time when the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Cuba’s principal economic partner, had caused a severe economic depression

very reminiscent
'reminiscent' and even 'very reminiscent' has very low impact. 'reminiscent' means 'tending to remind one of something', whereas I think you mean the depression in Cuba was, for that nation, on a par with the Great Depression that gripped the world. You go on to depict this period as "the worst economic crisis in Cuban history". Hardly, then, 'just kinda remindin' folks of' lol

of the Great Depression. In addition to being born

during the apex : 'during' = throughout the course or duration of a period of time
'apex' = the top or highest part of something, especially one forming a point
Hence, it should 'at' ...and even then, I'm not sure 'apex' is the appropriate word here. Far be it from me, that I should be stifling literary creativity, particularly by suggesting a common collocation, but I still think 'height' might be preferable.

of the worst economic crisis in Cuban history. I was also born underweight, and contracted Herpetic Stomatitis (a bad case of mouth ulcers),

that : change to 'which' (and revise use of 'that' and 'which' lol)

forced me into : forced me onto

an abstemious diet due to : change to diet, owing to (and revise use of 'due to' versus 'owing to' (lol)


the pain of swallowing and chewing.) My chances of survival were slim, but after a month of searching,

a local Catholic priest found the medicine
which was provided by the United States humanitarian aid donations.
Pity it wasn't the medicine you needed!

Firstly, you need to say something about its being 'the right medicine'; and secondly, 'which' is correctly used, by is always preceded by a comma: "...medicine, which..."

I'LL TRY TO GET BACK LATER AND DO SOME MORE.

I gradually coalesced and on September 1998 my parents won the Cuban equivalent of the lottery and with it a ticket to El País de las Maravillas or The Wonderland which was what I called the United States.
Almost immediately after receiving news of the ticket, we left Cuba and settled in a humble abode in West New York, New Jersey. Now 5 years old, I had a father who was fluent in English (in Cuba he was a manager of a prestigious hotel and thus spoke 3 languages fluently) and a mother who would deny any conversation lest it’s in English. She was adamant about being immersed in the English language and would only tolerate a Spanish conversation with friends. Consequentially, I never spoke Spanish except for greeting my mother’s acquaintances whenever they visited and was never exposed to my own culture because we easily assimilated.
West New York was, and still is, the most culturally varied town I have ever been to. I remember walking down Palisade Avenue and seeing a Mexican restaurant one block away from a hotel with Italian signs on it and two blocks away from a mosque. The entire ethnic spectrum could be found in my small town. I was matriculated in a Tae Kwon Do class that was headed by a man native to Korea. I liked the Tae Kwon Do class but was too young to understand the intrinsic value of self-defense and too old to derive simple pleasure from the series of traditional Korean self-defense stances –done in uniform with 30 other kids- called Forms (sometimes confused with the Japanese word Kata.) To me, Forms were strange and impersonal – I felt as if I was a programmed automaton doing the same thing in an endless loop. After two years of Tae Kwon Do, I started practicing Shorin-Ryu which to this day is my favorite martial art. Shorin-Ryu was rougher (we sparred without protective equipment) and much more pugilistic (Tae Kwon Do concentrated almost exclusively on kicking.) In addition, my teacher was a stern disciplinarian and exposed us to parts of Japanese culture. To this day I can recite a few words and count to 10 in Japanese.
Every Friday night, when I went with my mom to the local Laundromat, I would always see the orthodox Jews. They had the same hair-style (two conspicuous curls on opposite sides) and wore a black turban which I found to be comical but even as a child I admired their austereness and didactic disposition toward their children. I never befriended a Jew but I always found their strong sense of kinship to be admirable. It wasn’t until moving to Miami that I found my own kinship network (albeit a loose one) and people whose roots overlap with mine.
I attended an overly crowded school, PS #1, which was just blocks away from the Hudson River. The only memory I have of my school was the infamous 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center. My school was so close to the Twin Towers that less than half an hour after the first collision, I could see a dark cumulus ascend from my 2nd grade classroom window. That day was extremely hectic, my parents were fighting against heavy traffic to pick me up and all the radios were broadcasting warnings about a terrorist attack on New York. At a little under ten years old I moved to Florida and finally reconciled with my culture.
The first thing I noticed about Miami was the huge umbrageous palm trees and the myriad of people that reminded me of my family in Cuba. And it was here that I truly realized the cultural value of being Cuban. Although I knew a handful of Cubans in New Jersey, it didn’t compare to the overwhelming numbers of Miami. It was during this time that I started actually using my knowledge of Spanish to a great degree which had hitherto been a vestige of a tongue used solely to communicate with a family long lost.
I lived in the part of Miami with the greatest amount of Cubans – Hialeah. I enrolled in another Shorin-Ryu karate school and the sensei here was just as rigid and unrelenting in teaching the art to us. My sensei was a native of Cuba who learned the art directly from Japanese sanseis hired by the Cuban government to train their soldiers. In my karate school only the students spoke English and thus I was forced to speak to speak Spanish daily. We lived –and still live- in a nice neighborhood right on the border between Hialeah and Miami lakes. All the locals only spoke Spanish and Spanish was necessary if I wanted to do anything locally. I loved it and at age 14 I picked up an interest in languages and from then to now I have taken an avid interest in my Culture and language. In October 2011, my mother finalized the reclamation of my grandmother from Cuba thus increasing my relatives in this country from 2 to 3. I’ve learned a wealth of information about my culture since my grandmother’s inception to this country and having someone so rich with knowledge of Cuba so close to me is invaluable. She has truly given me identity and given me the feeling of kinship that I admired in the Jews of the Friday night Laundromats.
DavidL
Posted: Sunday, May 15, 2011 5:16:09 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/31/2011
Posts: 212
Neurons: 655
I gradually coalesced
You 'came together and formed one single mass" ?????


and on September, 1998, my parents won the Cuban equivalent of the lottery and with it, a ticket to El País de las Maravillas, or The Wonderland, which was what I called the United States.
Almost immediately after receiving news of the ticket, we left Cuba and settled in a humble abode in West New York, New Jersey.

Wouldn't it have been better to wait until you actually had the money? How did you pay??
The point being, it sounds odd that someone tells you you've won and you're off on the next boat to America. In the previous sentence, you've indicated 'my parents won...'. Say something equivalent to 'as soon as the money was in the bank/in our hot hands...



NowXXXX By then 5 years old, I had a father who was fluent in English -in Cuba he was a manager of a prestigious hotel and thus spoke 3XXX three languages fluently - and a

...he was a manager: only if he was one of two or more managers at the hotel.
Otherwise
...he was manager of a prestigious hotel..." THAT IS, Not Catering Manager, or Household Cleaning Manager, but HOTEL MANAGER

mother who would deny any conversation lest it’s in English.
= a mother who, would refuse to admit that any conversation existed to avoid the risk that it might be in English?????
That needs some rewording!!!!
"a mother who, in our new-found home, would refuse to acknowledge any conversation not conducted in English."

YOU HAVE TAKEN US BACK TO CUBA -father at the hotel - AND YOU NEED TO BRING US BACK TO NEW YORK AND THAT THIS WAS NOW YOUR MOTHER'S RULE FOR LIVING IN THE USA Edit: Now I realize, we've jumped and your father has instantly acquired a job as hotel manager in the `USA. We are not being told what he was back in Cuba. You might indicate that!


THIS PARAGRAPH NEEDS REWORKING, by transposing two sentences:

" ...a mother who was adamant we should be immersed in the English language, and would only tolerate a Spanish conversation with friends. She would refuse to acknowledge any conversation we attempted if not conducted in English."



Consequentially, I never spoke Spanish except for greeting my mother’s acquaintances whenever they visited,

and was never exposed to my own culture because we easily assimilated. "...and so assimilated that I had little exposure to my own culture.


West New York was, and still is, the most culturally varied town

I have ever been to. A sudden descent into insipid, drab prose. At least "...town of my youthful experience."


I remember walking down Palisade Avenue and seeing a Mexican restaurant one block away from a hotel with Italian signs on it and two blocks away from a mosque.

NOW LOOK AT THAT! What a mouthful...except it wouldn't be if spoken, because the voice would pause slightly, and pauses for breath. This can't be 'heard' in written text, and it is punctuation that serves that purpose.

I remember walking down Palisade Avenue and seeing a Mexican restaurant, one block away from a hotel with Italian signs on it, and two blocks away from a mosque.

ISN'T THAT A LOT EASIER FOR THE POOR READER!
Now, try doing something about another lapse into drab prose: '...a hotel with Italian signs on it,...`'
Something like: "...a hotel whose signage proudly proclaimed its Italian heritage..."
The entire ethnic spectrum
Firstly, too sweeping. Try "It seemed like the entire ethnic..."
And careful with 'spectrum': It has connotations of 'colours', and so when coupled with 'ethnicity', of 'blacks and whites and yellow-skinned and red-skinned and olive and...'

But then, 'entire spectrum' and 'gamut' and god-forbid, 'range' are clichéd. Try something imaginative:
OLD VERSION:
"West New York was, and still is, the most culturally varied town I have ever been to. I remember walking down Palisade Avenue and seeing a Mexican restaurant one block away from a hotel with Italian signs on it and two blocks away from a mosque. The entire ethnic spectrum could be found in my small town."
NEW VERSION
West New York was, and still is, the most culturally varied town of my youthful experience. I remember walking down Palisade Avenue and seeing a Mexican restaurant, one block away from a hotel with Italian signs on it, and two blocks away from a mosque. With its ethnic fusion, my small town could be mistaken as the dormitory suburb for the U.N. General Assembly.
or

My small town rivalled the U.N. General Assembly for its ethnic representation.

I'll try to do some more later.

I
DavidL
Posted: Sunday, May 15, 2011 9:41:37 AM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/31/2011
Posts: 212
Neurons: 655
At this point, I'd like some reassurance that you are still out there - not only in cyberspace somewhere - but also monitoring replies, so that I am not wasting my time replying.
CDelapena2
Posted: Sunday, May 15, 2011 10:21:35 AM
Rank: Newbie

Joined: 5/14/2011
Posts: 13
Neurons: 39
Location: United States
I am. I'm reading everything you're posting -- thank you for your help.
CDelapena2
Posted: Sunday, May 15, 2011 2:13:18 PM
Rank: Newbie

Joined: 5/14/2011
Posts: 13
Neurons: 39
Location: United States
Thank you so much for your help, Davidl. But may I inquire as to the origin of your derogatory conviction of American education?
Jyrkkä Jätkä
Posted: Sunday, May 15, 2011 3:44:35 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/21/2009
Posts: 43,127
Neurons: 584,274
Location: Helsinki, Southern Finland Province, Finland
DavidL has made great remarks on your grammar. I'd suggest something else. To make your text more readable consider adding an extra blank line after each paragraph (press Enter twice).

I was born in Havana, Cuba on May 15, 1994. I couldn’t have been born in a more ill-chosen country and at an even more inopportune time. Cuba was in the midst of the Special Period, a time when the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Cuba’s principal economic partner, had caused a severe economic depression very reminiscent of the Great Depression. In addition to being born during the apex of the worst economic crisis in Cuban history, I was also born underweight and contracted Herpetic Stomatitis (a bad case of mouth ulcers that forced me into an abstemious diet due to the pain of swallowing and chewing.) My chances of survival were slim but after a month of searching, a local Catholic priest found the medicine which was provided by the United States humanitarian aid donations. I gradually coalesced and on September 1998 my parents won the Cuban equivalent of the lottery and with it a ticket to El País de las Maravillas or The Wonderland which was what I called the United States.

Almost immediately after receiving news of the ticket, we left Cuba and settled in a humble abode in West New York, New Jersey. Now 5 years old, I had a father who was fluent in English (in Cuba he was a manager of a prestigious hotel and thus spoke 3 languages fluently) and a mother who would deny any conversation lest it’s in English. She was adamant about being immersed in the English language and would only tolerate a Spanish conversation with friends. Consequentially, I never spoke Spanish except for greeting my mother’s acquaintances whenever they visited and was never exposed to my own culture because we easily assimilated.

West New York was, and still is, the most culturally varied town I have ever been to. I remember walking down Palisade Avenue and seeing a Mexican restaurant one block away from a hotel with Italian signs on it and two blocks away from a mosque. The entire ethnic spectrum could be found in my small town. I was matriculated in a Tae Kwon Do class that was headed by a man native to Korea. I liked the Tae Kwon Do class but was too young to understand the intrinsic value of self-defense and too old to derive simple pleasure from the series of traditional Korean self-defense stances –done in uniform with 30 other kids- called Forms (sometimes confused with the Japanese word Kata.) To me, Forms were strange and impersonal – I felt as if I was a programmed automaton doing the same thing in an endless loop. After two years of Tae Kwon Do, I started practicing Shorin-Ryu which to this day is my favorite martial art. Shorin-Ryu was rougher (we sparred without protective equipment) and much more pugilistic (Tae Kwon Do concentrated almost exclusively on kicking.) In addition, my teacher was a stern disciplinarian and exposed us to parts of Japanese culture. To this day I can recite a few words and count to 10 in Japanese.

Every Friday night, when I went with my mom to the local Laundromat, I would always see the orthodox Jews. They had the same hair-style (two conspicuous curls on opposite sides) and wore a black turban which I found to be comical but even as a child I admired their austereness and didactic disposition toward their children. I never befriended a Jew but I always found their strong sense of kinship to be admirable. It wasn’t until moving to Miami that I found my own kinship network (albeit a loose one) and people whose roots overlap with mine.

I attended an overly crowded school, PS #1, which was just blocks away from the Hudson River. The only memory I have of my school was the infamous 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center. My school was so close to the Twin Towers that less than half an hour after the first collision, I could see a dark cumulus ascend from my 2nd grade classroom window. That day was extremely hectic, my parents were fighting against heavy traffic to pick me up and all the radios were broadcasting warnings about a terrorist attack on New York. At a little under ten years old I moved to Florida and finally reconciled with my culture.

The first thing I noticed about Miami was the huge umbrageous palm trees and the myriad of people that reminded me of my family in Cuba. And it was here that I truly realized the cultural value of being Cuban. Although I knew a handful of Cubans in New Jersey, it didn’t compare to the overwhelming numbers of Miami. It was during this time that I started actually using my knowledge of Spanish to a great degree which had hitherto been a vestige of a tongue used solely to communicate with a family long lost.

I lived in the part of Miami with the greatest amount of Cubans – Hialeah. I enrolled in another Shorin-Ryu karate school and the sensei here was just as rigid and unrelenting in teaching the art to us. My sensei was a native of Cuba who learned the art directly from Japanese sanseis hired by the Cuban government to train their soldiers. In my karate school only the students spoke English and thus I was forced to speak to speak Spanish daily. We lived –and still live- in a nice neighborhood right on the border between Hialeah and Miami lakes. All the locals only spoke Spanish and Spanish was necessary if I wanted to do anything locally. I loved it and at age 14 I picked up an interest in languages and from then to now I have taken an avid interest in my Culture and language. In October 2011, my mother finalized the reclamation of my grandmother from Cuba thus increasing my relatives in this country from 2 to 3. I’ve learned a wealth of information about my culture since my grandmother’s inception to this country and having someone so rich with knowledge of Cuba so close to me is invaluable. She has truly given me identity and given me the feeling of kinship that I admired in the Jews of the Friday night Laundromats.


You could also consider splitting those long paragraphs.
boneyfriend
Posted: Sunday, May 15, 2011 4:06:43 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 8/3/2009
Posts: 2,625
Neurons: 10,546
Location: Columbia, South Carolina, United States
CDelapena2, I don't ever read long posts such as yours as I am a lazy son of a gun. But yours caught my eye and I enjoyed every word. I wasn't reading it critically. I was reading it for enjoyment and interest which I found and kept me reading. You wrote a very interesting piece. Congratulations.
Rico
Posted: Sunday, May 15, 2011 4:33:17 PM
Rank: Newbie

Joined: 5/15/2011
Posts: 3
Neurons: 9
Location: Tajikistan
[An interesting story, well told. Suggested changes below]

I was born in Havana, Cuba on May 15, 1994. I couldn’t have been born in a more ill-chosen country nor at a more inopportune time. Cuba was in the midst of the “Special Period,” a time when the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Cuba’s principal economic partner, had caused a severe economic depression very reminiscent of the Great Depression. In addition to being born during the apex of the worst economic crisis in Cuban history, I was also born underweight and I contracted Herpetic Stomatitis (a bad case of mouth ulcers that forced me into an abstemious diet due to the pain of swallowing and chewing.) My chances of survival were slim but after a month of searching, a local Catholic priest found the medicine which was provided by the United States humanitarian aid donations. I gradually coalesced and on September 1998 my parents won the Cuban equivalent of the lottery and with it a ticket to El País de las Maravillas, or The Wonderland, which was what I called the United States.

Almost immediately after receiving news of the ticket, we left Cuba and settled in a humble abode in West New York, New Jersey. Now 5 years old, I had a father who was fluent in English (in Cuba he was a manager of a prestigious hotel and thus spoke 3 languages fluently) and a mother who would deny any conversation lest it’s in English. She was adamant about being immersed in the English language and would only tolerate a Spanish conversation with friends. Consequentially, I never spoke Spanish except for greeting my mother’s acquaintances whenever they visited and was never exposed to my own culture because we easily assimilated.

West New York was, and still is, the most culturally varied town I have ever been to. I remember walking down Palisade Avenue and seeing a Mexican restaurant one block away from a hotel with Italian signs on it and two blocks away from a mosque. The entire ethnic spectrum could be found in my small town. I was matriculated in a Tae Kwon Do class that was headed by a man native to Korea. I liked the Tae Kwon Do class but was too young to understand the intrinsic value of self-defense and too old to derive simple pleasure from the series of traditional Korean self-defense stances–done in uniform with 30 other kids-called Forms (sometimes confused with the Japanese word Kata.) To me, Forms were strange and impersonal. I felt as if I were a programmed automaton doing the same thing in an endless loop. After two years of Tae Kwon Do, I started practicing Shorin-Ryu which to this day is my favorite martial art. Shorin-Ryu was rougher (we sparred without protective equipment) and much more pugilistic (Tae Kwon Do concentrated almost exclusively on kicking.) In addition, my teacher was a stern disciplinarian and exposed us to parts of Japanese culture. To this day I can recite a few words and count to 10 in Japanese.

Every Friday night, when I went with my mom to the local laundromat, I would always see the orthodox Jews. They had the same hairstyle, two conspicuous curls on opposite sides, and wore a black turban, which I found to be comical, but even as a child I admired their austerity and didactic disposition toward their children. I never befriended a Jew but I always found their strong sense of kinship to be admirable. It wasn’t until moving to Miami that I found my own kinship network, albeit a loose one, and people whose roots overlapped with mine.

In New Jersey I attended an overly crowded school, PS #1, which was just blocks away from the Hudson River. The only memory I have of my school was the infamous 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center. My school was so close to the Twin Towers that less than half an hour after the first collision, I could see a dark cumulus ascend from my second grade classroom window. That day was extremely hectic, my parents fought against heavy traffic to pick me up, and all the radios were broadcasting warnings about a terrorist attack on New York.

At a little under ten years old I moved to Florida and finally reconciled with my culture. The first things I noticed about Miami were the huge umbrella-like palm trees and the myriad of people that reminded me of my family in Cuba. It was here that I truly realized the cultural value of being Cuban. Although I had known a handful of Cubans in New Jersey, that didn’t compare to the overwhelming numbers of Miami. It was during this time that I started actually using my knowledge of Spanish to a great degree which had hitherto been a vestige of a tongue used solely to communicate with a family long lost.

I lived in the part of Miami with the greatest amount of Cubans—Hialeah. I enrolled in another Shorin-Ryu karate school and the sensei (teacher) there was just as rigid and unrelenting in teaching as the one in New Jersey. My sensei was a native of Cuba who had learned the art directly from Japanese sanseis hired by the Cuban government to train its soldiers. In my karate school only the students spoke English, and thus I was forced to speak to speak Spanish daily. We lived in a nice neighborhood right on the border between Hialeah and Miami lakes, where we still live. All the locals spoke only Spanish, so Spanish was necessary if I wanted to do anything locally. I loved it. At age fourteen I picked up an interest in languages and from then until now I have taken an avid interest in my culture and language.

In October 2011, my mother finalized the reclamation of my grandmother from Cuba thus increasing my relatives in this country from two to three. I’ve learned a wealth of information about my culture since my grandmother’s immigration, and having someone so rich with knowledge of Cuba so close to me is invaluable. She has truly given me identity and given me the feeling of kinship that I admired in the Jews of the Friday night laundromats.
DavidL
Posted: Sunday, May 15, 2011 5:16:50 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 3/31/2011
Posts: 212
Neurons: 655
Firstly, let's look at what you have actually said, and asked me:

"...as to the origin of your derogatory conviction of American education?"

Are you really seeking clarification of the "origin" of my "conviction'?
origin: the beginning of something's existence; the place or situation from which something comes

To answer in terms of the definition of the word you have used:
1. Perhaps it started when, as part of my first degree at University, I took a minor in Education, where I learned that the philosophy of American Education was that self-esteem was paramount. The seed of the idea that therefore, to correct someone's poor grammar was somehow 'inhibiting' self-expression and detrimental to self-esteem, was sown. Since then, and now in retirement, I have watched countless documentaries and documentary-style ‘reality shows’. So perhaps it was when I became so appalled at the grammar of scientists telling me about the universe and its creation; of detectives solving murders; and of middle America in middle-management jobs on Judge Judy.
No idea of tenses:
“He rung me and come round to my place.”
No idea of Past Tense and Past Perfect:
:He had went…” (when Past Tense was appropriate).
…and the latest I’m hearing on TV:
“He was drugged along the ground…”
At least, being drugged, he would have felt little pain as he was dragged.
Not to mention, "He had tooken..." and "He had boughten..."
Aren't you really wanting to clarify what evidence am I drawing on to make that statement?

Three Presidents prior to 1999 took, as one of their priorities, to address the state of the American education system. President George Bush was at least the fourth to do so, and in 1999, every child in every State, in the last year before high school, was assessed for reading level and arithmetical skills. In the highest performing State, only 44% had these skills equivalent to the age of the child. Many States were below 20%...and in case you think this refers to the Southern States…the lowest performing State was Washington D.C.

A recent survey assessed the educational standards of students in Western developed countries. We are not talking Chad, Ghana, or some backwater part of India here. For Western developed countries, the USA was ranked 21.
21 ( !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! )

America has jobs for 138 million semi-skilled, skilled, and highly skilled employees. They have suitable applicants for 58 million.
That means that they have to recruit from overseas, or appoint less than qualified personnel.

As a start to verifying the above, see:
1. Michelle Rhee, Chancellor for Education in Washington D.C. and her fight to improve the system
2. If you have something like we have in the UK – Lovefilm – a DVD postal rental library – borrow the DVD Looking for Superman, where ‘Superman’ is the almighty person who can actually tackle and 'cure' the malaise of the American educational system.

What is so interesting, is that in a survey, when Americans were asked how good an education they had had, 80% said "good".
A reflection of the enormous self-confidence Americans have........not backed up by the facts.

DON'T GET ME WRONG. I've been to the States about 15-16 times, all over. I love the States. I also see reality when it's 'in my face'.
DavidL
Posted: Sunday, May 15, 2011 5:27:37 PM
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Joined: 3/31/2011
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Others have now replied to your post.

If I can help any further.....
CDelapena2
Posted: Sunday, May 15, 2011 10:43:23 PM
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Joined: 5/14/2011
Posts: 13
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Location: United States
Thank you for all your help, DavidL, Rico and Jyrkkä Jätkä, and thank you for your comment, boneyfriend, I'm glad you enjoyed it.

BTW: I'm sorry I forgot to mention it but this is for a scholarship called the Ten4u scholarship by Nordstrom.
jmacann
Posted: Monday, May 16, 2011 3:39:49 PM
Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 2/20/2011
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Location: Spain
CDelapena2 wrote:
I am. I'm reading everything you're posting -- thank you for your help.

Just a couple of ideas:

"which was just blocks away from..." - why not omit "just"...? as it does not add much -or else, either use "some/a few".

"my knowledge of Spanish to a great degree..." -why not try "greater"...? -as I think 'did not ever use it' is not the idea you are conveying (sorry if I got it wrong).
CDelapena2
Posted: Monday, May 16, 2011 3:44:12 PM
Rank: Newbie

Joined: 5/14/2011
Posts: 13
Neurons: 39
Location: United States
Thanks, I've taken your advice for the first comment. As for the second comment, saying 'greater' instead of 'great' implies that I spoke Spanish before but the reality is that I spoke one sentence of spanish twice every three months (as mentioned in the essay.) I think 'great' fits better because of that.
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