Teenagers Read and Write with Early Childhood Learners at the Garden School in Queens

In this blog post, I write about teaching international students at a school in Queens.
A boy holds up a sign that says "International Night".
A Seventh Grader holds up a sign
he made for our school's annual International Night.
I am incredibly honored to teach a large cohort of adolescent English Language learners this year at the Garden School, in Jackson Heights — one of the most beautiful neighborhoods in Queens. My students — representing mainland China, Thailand, Hong Kong, Vietnam, and Turkey; each have an F-1 student visa to enable them to receive their education here in the United States — with many continuing their studies at college or universities both within and outside of America!
      To put into perspective how vast this group is: approximately one million international students are studying in the United States alone, according to the Institute of International Education (IIE). Of that group, roughly one hundred thousand are middle and high school adolescents. So I am one lucky teacher. My experience as an international student also adds further depth to my appreciation for this amazing opportunity - I had a student visa when attending the Higher Institute of Philosophy in Leuven, Belgium, and I lived in the American College.
      One activity I love doing with my students is having them read to younger kids. It is a fun, low-stakes way for kids to learn from each other. And it's fun. Here are some photographs to document our learning together:
A kindergartener and a Tenth grader write a story together for a Language Arts project at the Garden School in Jackson Heights, Queens.
A kindergartener and a Tenth grader write a story together for a Language Arts project. 
An Eleventh grader conducts a read-aloud for a couple of Early Childhood students at the Garden School in Queens.
An Eleventh grader conducts a read-aloud for a couple of Early Childhood students.


Recollection: Catholic Confirmation at Mary Queen of Peace Church (c. 1990s)

Me, Archbishop Philip Hannan, and Georgette Pintado (Nanan)
Throwback post to 1997 - a Catholic Confirmation ceremony at Mary Queen of Peace Church in Mandeville, Louisiana.
In the Catholic tradition, young people get confirmed. It's the standard rite of passage for Catholic youth. You take some classes. You go on a field trip. You take on the name of a saint and you choose a sponsor to help support you in your Catholicity. At sixteen years old, I was confirmed at Mary Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Mandeville, Louisiana. The pastor was Father Ronnie Calkins - a really nice guy who I later knew better when I joined the Seminary. But that's another story.


Photograph Taken a Few Days After Hurricane Katrina at Mom's House in Madisonville, Louisiana

Family Photo from Madisonville, Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina
Maggie and Greig, Madisonville, Louisiana circa August 2005
On August 29th, twelve years have passed since Hurricane Katrina stormed the Gulf Coast in 2005. Here is a blog post to commemorate that event.
You can make out the outline of Mom's house in the upper left-hand corner of this photograph. A fallen power line is draped over a felled tree. You can see that the massive oak still stands. Everything else is scattered, twisted, and torn. On August 29th, twelve years have passed since Hurricane Katrina stormed the Gulf Coast. Katrina was a monster wind storm - and this photograph attests to that fact.

"Welcome" in Nine Languages

Photo by Cathal Mac an Bheatha on Unsplash
Inspired by the welcome sign in the Museum of Modern Art's lobby, it behooves me to share the text of "Welcome" in nine languages.

Who doesn't like "Welcome" signs in multiple languages? I noticed the entrance sign to MoMA's film lobby - It read welcome in several languages and cheery invitation as well: "this way to art." I'm thinking of copying it and posting a similar sign on my classroom door.

So here is the text from the MoMA sign with translations (in machine-friendly rendering):

Willkommen - German

ようこそ - Japanese

Bienvenue - French

Benvenuto - Italian

And in English - Welcome, this way to art 

欢迎 - Chinese (Simplified), Shanghainese

Spanish - Bienvenido

Cantonese - 歡迎

Bem-vindo - Portuguese

환영합니다 - Korean


Me and My Cat - Circa 1980s Roselli Family Photo

Greig and Toby, LaPlace, Louisiana circa 1987
I like the photograph above for two reasons.
First, Tobey looks glorious and we are definitely bonding - although my toothy grin is a bit unsettling (probably because the image is cropped and half my face is missing).
Second, the sofa we're lounging on sticks in my memory - I loved its satin-like feel - a bit of luxury that I can recall from my Southern Louisiana upbringing in the mid-1980s.


Travel Diary: Crossing the Delaware

Crossing the Delaware River over the Delaware Memorial Bridge
Traveling from D.C. to New York on a Summer day in 2017, I took a photograph of the Delaware Memorial Bridge - and wrote this illuminating post.
I'm wishing everyone peace and solace on this Sunday in Ordinary Time.


Summer in Perdido Key: Belly Beach Parade

A beachgoer in Perdido Key, Florida Summer 2017
I'm addicted to this filter I used to take the above photograph. On my mobile phone - via the Facebook app - I upload random photos to "my story." My friends over at Snapchat were made famous with this kind of ephemera-generating technology - so I guess Facebook has jumped on the bandwagon to compete. And I think Instagram has a similar feature.