The State Board of Education recently announced it’s selection for student representatives. We were fortunate enough to meet Miss Marjoury Alicea, the newly appointed student representative, and learned about her goals in this new chapter and how her bilingual background has paved the way for her many achievements.

DC Immersion: Tell us a little bit about yourself.  

MA: Well, to begin, I am a 17-year-old high school rising senior who loves to sleep. Aside from that not so exciting aspect, I guess you can say this question is always difficult to interpret or mesh together in a couple of sentences. But from what I can understand from it is that I am young women trying to be the best example to the kids and my siblings who look up to me. To demonstrate that even the biggest challenges you face can be overcome by persevering through them, with your head up high. As for my future goal, you ask, I want to have a Ph.D. in public health policy. Joining my debate club since my freshman year has played a big role in my interest and future career. I’ve gotten to know issues through my own research, discussing them and getting different perspectives on it. Wanting to make an impact on one person or a group of people is what keeps me motivated to accomplish what I want to do for the rest of my life.

DC Immersion: We understand you are bilingual. Can you tell us what other languages you speak? How did you learn them? How does being bilingual play a role in your life?

MA: Yes, I can speak Spanish and English. But If I ever get the chance, I would be eager to learn ASL and Arabic. Those languages have always fascinated me in their complexity. Both of my parents only knew Spanish while I was young, and even today. As a little girl that was the only language I knew, the only language I could communicate with my parents with until I went to school. No, learning to was not difficult. Being bilingual is one of the many aspects that make up my identity, it is the beautiful language the people that I love taught me, the language I that allows me to share my culture with others and a language I can use to help others.

DC Immersion: You mentioned in the email above that you just arrived from a cultural exchange in Uruguay. Can you tell us more about that? How did you learn about this opportunity? What were the objectives?

MA: During my time in Uruguay, me and 17 other youth ambassadors traveled to Uruguay for a cultural exchange and learned about the culture through our personal perspectives. We developed a community-based initiative to bring back to the U.S. that will impact our community and get a glimpse of their education system by attending local high schools and visiting organizations. We each stayed with a host family in the capital and another host family in the interior. During my experience with my host family in the city, I got a glimpse into the city life and the history behind it. But on the other hand, my interior family showed me the good and the bad of their city; Salto. It was very eye opening and an amazing moment for me to get the stories and conversate with different people from Uruguay. Without my vice principal telling me about this opportunity, I don’t think I would have ever gotten the chance to attend. It is definitely an experience I will always remember for the rest of my life. Plus I got to meet amazing people along the way.

DC Immersion: Congratulations on becoming the State Board of Education’s Student representative. How did you initially get involved with the SBOE?

MA: Thank you very much! I saw the opportunity via my Vice Principal emailing it to the school, after reading what the SBOE was about, I immediately decided to apply to be the voice students want to rely on.

DC Immersion: What are you hoping to accomplish as the student representative for SOBE?

MA: I’m most looking forward to learning more about SBOE as a student representative and get more students involved in it for the future. As well as gaining confidence in the students, to be their example in using their voice in their school and community. To finish, I am looking forward to learning from other representatives, to help and guide me to become the best student representative I can become and leaving the last year of my high school career influencing the people around me in the most positive way.

Dear Families, educators, and partners,

In 2020 we announced that the DC Language Immersion Project would close its doors due to lack of resources. However, before completely dissolving the organization, we recently asked a group of local and national educators if they - individually or collectively - would be interested in continuing the work of advocating for multilingual education in the District of Columbia. We are pleased to announce that a few individuals responded yes and volunteered to forge a plan to continue this vital work.

So, we are not closing our doors but we are entering a six-to-twelve-month period of dormancy as we determine the best path forward for the DC Immersion Project.  Thank you for your continued support and please stay tuned for updates.

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