National Writing Project

Teen Goes to D.C. to Discuss ELL Challenges

Publication: Stockton Record
Date: May 16, 2011

Summary: Kenya Hernandez, a 15-year-old student of NWP teacher Brandy De Alba, traveled to the nation's capital to speak her mind to U.S. policymakers about why it's important to support educating English language learners.


Kenya Hernandez joined six Writing Project teachers in a congressional briefing in Washington, D.C., to provide insights on why second language learners and immigrant students are critical to our national success, the challenges faced by both students and teachers in an academic environment, and the role that education plays in these students' lives.

Panelists offered recommendations to policymakers and educators on how we must improve our schools to better serve these students based on a recent report, Teacher Voices: Immigration, Language and Culture, put out by The College Board, the NWP, and Phi Delta Kappa.

Excerpt from Article

The National Writing Project has provided an avenue toward education for many second-language students, Kenya among them. It is through writing that Kenya has found her voice, both at Roosevelt the past few years and this past week in Washington, where her trip provided an actual teenager who punctured—in a small way—the capital city's insulation.

"Writing, to me, has always been something that I've been able to connect to people with," Kenya told her D.C. audience. "I could write how I feel, I could tell stories, it really doesn't matter. I've just always been able to express myself in writing. Writing is just a part of me."

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Read "Capitol Gains: Teen's Journey to Washington Shines Light on Larger Challenges" in the Stockton Record.

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