ESL Students Share Stories About Coming to Crowley High


Andy Hebert

CHS junior Emteaz Muthana is originally from Yemen.

Travis Hayes, Sports Editor

Crowley High juniors Emteaz Muthana and Michael Milla and senior Lesther Chacon wanted to share their stories of what it is like coming to live in the United States after being born in another country.

They are called ESL students because English is not their primary language. ESL stands for English as a second language.

The 17-year-old Muthana, whose primary language is Arabic, explained why her family decided to come to the United States from Yemen. “To live in a good and safe place because there is a war in Yemen,  and learning and working here are better.”

Her parents, three brothers, two sisters, three uncles, two aunts, and cousins all live in the U.S., but some of them live in California, while some live in Chicago, Ill. “I miss all of the people I know.  I miss my grandmother and grandfather my fiance, my friends, and my cousin. I miss my family so much.  I hope the war stops.

Muthana, who has lived in the United States for almost three years, left her country when she was nearly 15 years old. She explained the reason she wound up in Crowley.  “My uncle was working here, so my dad came to work with him.”

Yemen is a country directly south of Saudi Arabia at the southern end of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia Muthana’s family traveled from Yemen to Djibouti. “We went to Djibouti on this big ship. We sailed for 28 hours.  We stayed there for a year and six months,” she explained. “Then, we traveled to the United States (by airplane).”

Muthana described what life was like in Yemen.  “Life was beautiful in Yemen, but because of the war everything is sad and unsafe with a lot of good people dying every day.” She stated, “The good thing is the war is almost finished.”

Muthana admitted that some food here is the same, but she misses eating fish, kabsa, shawarma, and falafel.

She is still learning English.  “I still don’t speak all of the languages, but there are a lot of words, so it’s hard to adjust.”

She also mentioned what it was like going to a school where people look and speak entirely different from you.  “At first, it was different seeing new people and hearing a new language, but now it’s normal. We’ve gotten used to it.”

She said it wasn’t hard at all to make friends.  “All of my friends speak English, so it is hard sometimes to communicate with them.”

To help her learn English more fluently, she spends time watching YouTube, talking to other students, and working with ESL teacher Jeffery Corbello. “He helps me a lot. He explains to me anything I do not understand, teaches me how to read, and translates test questions to me.”

Muthana admitted that sometimes it’s difficult to understand what her teachers are teaching. “But, thanks to my teachers, they try to help me, and sometimes, they send the work to Mr. Corbello if it is really important.”  

She stated that she is enjoying her time at CHS.  “All of my friends come here.”

But, there is one thing that bothers her.  “It is some racist students. They call me a terrorist, and it makes me sad because we’re not terrorist; we are normal people just like the other good people who respect and help others. I hope they stop,” she stressed.

“We know about terrorists. As you know they are really bad people and they kill others.  We hate them just as much as you guys do.”

She is planning to go back to Yemen during the summer.

CHS junior Michael Milla is originally from Honduras.

Milla, 18, who was born in Honduras and primarily speaks Spanish, is another  ESL student attending CHS.

Honduras is a Central American country, which is located southeast of Mexico and south of the United States.

“My family decided to come to the United States due to the difficult situation that exists in my country where it is very difficult to obtain a job (and) the crime is very big.”

Milla has at least 20 family members living in the United States with some living in Crowley while others live in New Orleans and parts of Texas.

Milla admitted he misses going to the beaches and eating the food of his native country. “I miss my family very much and my friends.”

Milla, who lived in Des Moines, Iowa, for a little while before moving to Crowley, has been in the United States for four years, moving to this country when he was 14 years old. “Part of my family lives here, so I decided that I would come with them.”

It took 18 days for him to get into the United States. “It was very difficult to get here because the gangs in Mexico extorted money.”

He also mentioned that was some of the same reasons his family left Honduras.  “It was a somewhat complicated life to live because of the gang issue, extortion, robberies, and deaths.”

Besides trying to learn English, he admitted it wasn’t hard to adapt to living here.   He tries to learn English by reading books with help from Corbello, who he has worked with for two and a half years.  “He helps me with the tasks I do not understand,” explained Milla.

He also stated that it’s not difficult to understand the teachers.  “When I do not understand, they look for a way to help me,” he mentioned. “Sometimes, I translate some information that I do not understand.”

He mentioned that he misses eating Baleadas the most from his country, while his favorite American food is hamburgers.

Milla admits it was not hard to make friends at CHS.  “The truth is it is very easy to make friends. I have several friends at school who speak my same language,” he said. “I have several friends who speak English, and the truth is that it’s very easy to communicate with them.”My friends that speak English are really easy to communicate with.”

He stated that he is enjoying his time at CHS. “I enjoy it very much for the humility that is here, and I love it a lot for the joy that there is.”

Once he graduates from high school, he plans to get a job.  He also plans to go back to his country one day. “I still do not know when that day is going to be, but I really want to visit my country.”

CHS senior Lesther Chacon is originally from Honduras

The 18-year-old Chacon, who was born in Copan, Honduras and primarily speaks Spanish, explained that his family came to the United States about six years ago “looking for work (and) more opportunities.”  

Chacon lives with his mom while the rest of his family lives in Houston.  

He came to the United States in a car, and it took six days for him to arrive.

He explained how he wound up in Crowley two years ago at the age of 16.  “When I came to the United States, my father was working in Lafayette.” He also lives in Houston for one week.

What Lesther misses most about his country is the food, family, friends, and football. He misses his sister most of all.

He stated that the food in Honduras is very different from the USA.  “In my country, the people making the food with love.” His favorite American food is burgers, while he misses eating Baleadas in Honduras.

Besides the language, Chacon found it hard adjusting to the culture.

Chacon mentioned that he watches a lot of movies in English to help him learn the language more fluently.  

He also has worked with Corbello for over a year. “He helps me  with anything I don’t understand.”

He also said it can be difficult to understand what the teachers are teaching.  “But, (the teachers) help me out a lot.”

Chacon claimed it hasn’t been hard to make friends.  “The American boys are crazy, so it was easy to make friends.”

He did comment that sometimes it can be hard to communicate. “Sometimes, they don’t understand some words.”

Chacon, however, does have friends who speak Spanish, like  Yadira Olguin, Isabella Reyes, Edwin Caballero, Kevin Nunez, Jonathan Olguin, and Michael Milla.

Chacon said he enjoys CHS like everybody else, but.he to go back to his home country, but doesn’t know when. His future plans are to get a good job. Lesther would like to add, “Believe in yourself.”