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Charlotte Hendrix

Consider the power of art with For Freedoms

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The Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art at Auburn University is proud to be one of many distinguished arts organizations throughout the country participating in the momentous For Freedoms 50 State Initiative. Founded by artists Hank Willis Thomas and Eric Gottesman, For Freedoms was inspired by Norman Rockwell’s 1943 paintings of the four universal freedoms articulated by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1941—freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.

The museum is actively participating in For Freedoms through the display of four works of art from its permanent collection. The works will be identified with special gallery signage and the For Freedoms logo, prompting visitors to consider the power of art in the context of a democracy. In addition to the artworks on display, two programs in the Community Films and Conversations series will be branded as For Freedoms initiatives and will include voter registration opportunities hosted by the League of Women Voters of East Alabama.

Logo For Freedoms 50 State Initiative
Leopoldo Méndez The Revolutionary, 1946 Linocut Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art, Auburn University; Robert B. Ekelund Jr. and Mark Thornton Collection

Freedom of Speech

The title of this print is “The Revolutionary.”

  • What do you assume about the action in this scene?
  • Where is the viewer placed in relation to the young man?
  • How is holding his body? Think about his shoulders, chest, and chin
  • Describe the expression on his face.

Leopold Méndez, The Revolutionary, 1946, Linocut, Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art, Auburn University, The Robert B. Ekelund and Mark Thornton Collection.

Freedom from Fear Christina Cordova (American, b. 1976) Mi Familia, 2010 ceramic and metal wire Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art at Auburn University Museum purchase with funds from the 1072 Society

Freedom from Fear

Our first feelings of security come from our relationships with our families.

  • Think about how the figures are arranged?
  • What besides the title suggests that this group is a family?
  • How do the people feel? How do you know?
  • What might the metal birds represent?

Christina Cordova, Mi Familia, 2010, ceramic and metal wire, Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art, Auburn University, Museum purchase with funds from the 1072 Society.

Seated Figure of Gautama Buddha China, Ming Dynasty, Yongle era, 1403 – 1425 Gilt bronze Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art at Auburn University. The Joan Cousins Hartman Collection of Tibetan Bronzes.

Freedom of Worship

Inscribed on the top of the lotus platform is “Da Ming Yunglo nien shi,” or “Done (or donated) in the Yongle era of the Great Ming Dynasty).” This sculpture was sent from the Ming court as an offering to a ranking member of the Buddhist religious community in Tibet. The reason this sculpture and other Tibetan religious artifacts came into personal and public collections in the mid-twentieth century is that the Chinese People’s republic annexed Tibet in 1950 and began a systematic suppression of Tibetan culture and Buddhist practice. Temples and monasteries were destroyed, and many deconsecrated religious artifacts came onto the art market. This object is an essential example of the importance of JCSM’s mission to preserve, enhance, research, and interpret works of art in our collection. The Buddha, situated on a lotus platform, reaches down with his right hand to touch the ground. This gesture is recognized in Tibetan Buddhist iconography as an invocation for the earth deity to bear witness to his awakening.

  • What parts of the sculpture convey spirituality and enlightenment?
  • Think about the material, texture, and composition of the object, the pose of the figure, and the facial features of the Buddha.
Installation of Ben Shahn's Hunger from Art Interrupted exhibition, 2012

Freedom from Want

  • How did the artist convey the child’s need?
  • Think about the implied position of the viewer, the prominence of the boy’s hand, the treatment of his face and neck, and the use of color.

Ben Shahn, Hunger, 1946, gouache on composition board, Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art, Auburn University, Advancing American Art Collection.

Alabama institutions also participating in For Freedoms include Alabama Contemporary Arts Center (Mobile), Birmingham Public Library, Birmingham Museum of Art, Coleman Center for the Art (York), Institute for Human Rights (University of Alabama Birmingham), Mobile Museum of Art, Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Paul r. Jones Museum of Art at University of Alabama Tuscaloosa, and Wiregrass Museum of Art (Dothan). Visit FORFREEDOMS.ORG for full details.

Soprano Jacquie Cruz

Inspirational singer performs classical, Broadway, and patriotic Music

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On Thursday, September 6, from noon to 1:00 p.m., JCSM presents soprano Jacquie Cruz with pianist Gary Klarenbeek for A Little Lunch Music. An inspirational singer and formally trained soprano, Ms. Cruz will perform works by Johann Sebastian Bach and Ludwig van Beethoven as well as a collection of well-known Broadway tunes, hymns, and patriotic songs. A gift from Friends of the Series has helped to make this performance possible. The café menu is available online.

Headshot of Jacquie Cruz, soprano

There has never been a time when music wasn’t part of the life of soprano Jacquie Cruz. Born into a musical family in which her dad is a music minister, singing was as natural as breathing. As a child, she discovered her passion for vocal music following her family’s move to Auburn, Alabama in 2001. She has performed with her father in churches throughout Alabama, Iowa, Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, and Texas.

Noted composer and arranger, Mary McDonald shares, “Jacquie Cruz has the voice of an angel! Music stemming from the depths of her soul journeys from heart to heaven as she gives flight to every note she sings. She loves sharing her faith through her music and will captivate her audience with inner and outward beauty that lights up a room.”

Derric Johnson, award-wining composer, arranger, writer, educator and minister of music, discovered Jacquie’s vocal abilities during a trip to Auburn in 2017. Jacquie sung for him and his wife Debbie Johnson, who has sung for four United States presidents and in over thirty-five thousand performances with the Voices of Liberty at Epcot Center. This meeting led to a collaboration which resulted in the production of Jacquie’s first professional album.

Derric shared, “To hear Jacquie Cruz is to remember her forever. Her stage presence is charming, her delivery is sparkling and her inspiration is enduring.”

Jacquie feels equally at home delivering a Gospel standard or offering a power ballad. She hopes to convey a message that is transparent and at the same time powerfully poignant, presenting faith and courage to all who hear. These ideals led to the title of “HopeFull” for her first professional recording project.

Jacquie is a perennial favorite in the Auburn-Opelika area, whether performing the “National Anthem” for thousands of fans at Auburn University sporting events or in concerts throughout the southeast. A graduate of Auburn High School, she went on to earn her Bachelor’s Degree in Vocal Performance and Communications from Columbus State University’s Schwob School of Music in Columbus, Georgia.

Jacquie states, “Whether I sing a simple hymn, sacred classics, a Broadway show tune, or a dramatic sacred ballad, my goal is to dedicate all I sing to Him, my Creator who gave me this gift. To Him be the glory. My greatest passion is to use the gift He’s given me to bring a message of strength and hope to the listener.”

Jacquie and her husband, Melvin, (Wally) were married in 2008 and have a two young sons, Wally J and Jackson, and a daughter, Lacey Jane, who is one year old.

Gary Klarenbeek was born and raised in the small farming community of Rock Rapids, Iowa. He discovered his musical passions at an early age when he began studying piano at age four. From piano he continued on to study organ, voice, and trumpet. In addition, he had a great passion for musical theatre and played lead roles in numerous musicals including “Once Upon a Mattress,” “Music Man,” “Oliver,” “Guys and Dolls,” and “Fiddler on the Roof.”

Gary graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree with a triple major in Church Music and Organ and Voice performance from Westmar College in LeMars, Iowa. Following college, Gary and his bride, Julie, his childhood sweetheart, moved to St. Louis for his first church appointment. Gary has since served churches in Houston, Texas; Naples, Florida and currently serves as Director of Music Ministries at Auburn United Methodist Church in Auburn, Alabama.

Besides his musical passions, Gary enjoys travel, spending time at the beach, reading, shopping (especially for ties and antiques), cooking for family and entertaining guests, and gardening. Most of all, he cherishes quality family time at home.

The Klarenbeeks are parents to Jacquie Cruz. They have a second daughter, Ashlee. She is a graduate of Auburn University and now works and resides in Athens, Georgia with her husband Terrell and son Cooper.

Pianist plays songs from the 1970s

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On Thursday, August 30, from noon to 1:00 p.m. in the Grand Gallery, Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art presents a free concert by pianist Mary Slaton. Though specializing in over six decades of popular music, for this concert Ms. Slaton will spotlight the 1970s. Her program, “It’s All Coming Back to Me,” will feature music made famous by artists such as Neil Diamond, Bette Midler, Roberta Flack, The Eagles, Simon and Garfunkel, Lionel Ritchie, Elton John, Billy Joel, Chicago, The Beatles, Jimmy Buffett, and more. The performance is made possible in part by a gift from Stanley Sistrunk and a gift from Friends of the Series.” The café menu is available online.

Over the years, MARY SLATON has entertained thousands with her distinctive piano arrangements, and is known throughout the southeast as one of the region’s premier soloists. She knows popular music from the 1930s to present day, and specializes in the 1940s, 50s, 60s, and 70s including songs from classic movies, radio, and the canon of great American standards. While earning her Master’s degree at Memphis State University, Mary was a regular soloist at the Hilton and the Hyatt Regency. After Memphis, she lived in the Atlanta area where she played the Omni Hotel, the Hilton, the Atlanta Country Club, the Marietta Country Club, the Atlanta Athletic Club, and the 1848 Restaurant. Through her solo piano career, she boasts to have met many famous and colorful characters.

Mary grew up with her six brothers and one sister in Lee County, Alabama, in the Beauregard community on the Lazenby family farm. Her brother remembered her playing by ear at six years old. After earning her Bachelor’s degree at the University of Montevallo, Mary taught choir and piano at Beauregard School, and started bands at Beauregard and at Macon Academy in Tuskegee.

Having returned to Lee County, now in the Auburn-Opelika area, she has been featured at venues such as the Jule Collins Smith Museum of Fine Art, the Terra Cotta, the Saugahatchee Country Club, and the Marriott Hotel and Conference Center at Grand National. She enjoys entering her private students in district and state competitions, and has taught at Southern Union Community College. She leads the Mary Slaton Trio, and founded the East Alabama Community Band in which she serves as coordinator and French horn player.

Mary has one son, an architect in Birmingham. She loves spending time with her two grandchildren and growing flowers in her yard whenever possible.

Chris Krupinski (Hurricane, WV) Pears and Plums

Awards judge names winners in juried watercolor competition

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The “Watercolor Society of Alabama 77th Annual National Exhibition” features more than seventy pieces from artists all over the country. The exhibition is on view through Sunday, July 29.

Awards judge, Barbara Nechis, an artist and resident of Napa, California, is the former director of the Watercolor Society. “When making my selections first I look at the work and pay attention to which pieces I respond to without analyzing why. I look for work that appears to be particular to each artist and try to choose what I believe could be recognized as such even without a signature,” said Nechis.

“Emotional content is important to me but drawing and compositional skills, control of paint, shape and edge, an understanding of the proportions of figure or landscape, considered rather than random color, brush strokes that are purposeful, not arbitrary and works that demonstrate intent rather than accidental results are among my other considerations.”

Congratulations to the winners.

Chris Krupinski (Hurricane, WV) Pears and Plums

Award of Excellence

Chris Krupinski
(Hurricane, WV)
“Pears and Plums”

Joanna Ellington (Miramar Beach, FL) Storm on the Way

Board of Directors’ Award

Joanna Ellington
(Miramar Beach, FL)
“Storm on the Way”

Debra Scoggin/Myers (Ewing, MO) Father Is Always Working

Patron Fine Art Award

Debra Scoggin/Myers
(Ewing, MO)
“Father Is Always Working”

Iain Stewart (Opelika, AL) Two Boys and a Bike—Gothenburg, Sweden

Patron Fine Art Award

Iain Stewart
(Opelika, AL)
“Two Boys and a Bike—Gothenburg, Sweden”

Charles Rouse (Vista, CA) Hanging Out at Half King

Patron Fine Art Award

Charles Rouse
(Vista, CA)
“Hanging Out at Half King”

Z. L. Feng (Radford, VA) Roots

Patron Fine Art Award

Z. L. Feng
(Radford, VA)
“Roots”

Bruce Little (Savannah, GA) Ferry at Night

Patron Fine Art Award

Bruce Little
(Savannah, GA)
“Ferry at Night”

Tuva Stephens (McKenzie, TN) Norm’s World II

Patron Fine Art Award

Tuva Stephens
(McKenzie, TN)
“Norm’s World II”

Merit Award: James Brantley, (Opelika, AL), “Survivor”
Merit Award: Matthew Bird, (Sykesville, MD), “For You”
Southern Watercolor Society Award: William H. Mckeown, Quincy, FL, “The Old Salt”
Georgia Watercolor Society Award: Sophie Repolt Rogers, Tuscumbia, AL, “My Kinda Red Flags”
Louisiana Watercolor Society Award: Heike Covell, Huntsville, AL, “Proud”
Tallahassee Watercolor Society Award: Suzanna Spann, Cortez, FL, “Friday on Frenchman Street”
Texas Watercolor Society Award: Anne Hightower-Patterson, Leesville, SD, “Waiting In the Light of the Sun”
Signature Members Award: Keiko Yasoka, Houston, TX, “Happy Anniversary”
Signature Members Award: Barbara O’Neal Davis, York, SC “Proud”
Signature Members Award: Corky Goldman, Mobile, AL, “Generations”
Signature Members Award: Chuck Jones, McCalla, AL, “Cold Water School”
Signature Members Award: Florene S. Galese, Vestavia, AL, “Lazy Croc”

A Little Lunch Music, 5/17/2018: UA Violin and Piano Faculty Performing Stravinsky, Grieg

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On Thursday, May 17, from noon to 1:00 p.m., the series will present a free concert by violinist Jenny Grégoire with pianist Edisher Savitsky. The duo will perform “Suite Italienne” by Igor Stravinsky and “Sonata no. 3” by Edvard Grieg. A gift from Friends of the Series has helped to make this performance possible. The café menu is available online.

Musicians Gregoire-Savitsky by Demondrae Thurman

Born in Québec, Canada, Grégoire is assistant professor of violin at the University of Alabama. She has served as concertmaster for the Mobile Symphony Orchestra since 2001. She also performs with the Tuscaloosa Symphony, the Meridian Symphony, and the North Mississippi Symphony, and played one season with the New World Symphony in Miami, Florida, under the direction of Michael Tilson Thomas.

On Thursday, the duo will perform “Suite Italienne” by Igor Stravinsky and “Sonata no. 3” by Edvard Grieg.

Stravinsky, who died in 1971, was at the forefront of changes in concert music during his time. He was known for pieces that still challenge the way listeners perceive harmony and rhythm, such as his ballet “The Rite of Spring” and his chamber music work, “The Soldier’s Tale,” both written in the 1910s.

In contrast, Stravinsky’s ballet “Pulcinella,” written in 1920, helped mark the beginning of his neoclassical period. “Suite Italienne” is a set of dances from the ballet arranged for violin and piano. “I really like his music, Grégoire said. “He really explored colors.”

During this time, Stravinsky borrowed conventions from works written 150 years prior. The music may remind listeners of works composed by Joseph Haydn and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. “But he added his twist to it,” Grégoire said of Stravinsky.

Grégoire says in parts of “Suite Italienne,” Stravinsky used dense harmonies that stray far from suggesting the familiar sounds of Classical Period composers like Mozart and Haydn. “The finale gets really thick,” she said. But she says clear rhythmic ideas from the older style contrast with the newer harmonic experiments.

There are other similar contrasts. “In the Minuet, it’s very melodic,” Grégoire said. “But the chord progressions in the piano make it so interesting because it’s not what you expect.” She says the combination of singable melodies and simple rhythms with newer, complex ideas make the music compelling. “I really like his music.”

Grieg wrote music mostly in the late 1800s during Western music’s Romantic Period. His third violin sonata was written for Adolph Brodsky, a Russian violinist. “It’s very dramatic,” Grégoire said, also calling it tempestuous. “It starts very strong and passionate so you know the character right away.”

Grégoire says the pieces she likes to play showcase the pianist’s abilities equally to those of the violinist. She says Grieg’s second movement demonstrates this by starting with 44 measures of melodic and beautiful solo piano.

A critically acclaimed pianist, Savitski is a winner of the International Piano-e-Competition, the Hilton Head International Piano Competition, and the William S. Byrd International Piano Competition. He has appeared at music festivals and venues in Austria, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Switzerland, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, Israel, Morocco, Japan, New Zealand, and the U.S. He is an assistant professor at the University of Alabama.

A girl looks at a picture frame with pictures of her family. Pictures of friends hang on the wall. Textbooks show that she is studying.

Photo Memories

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R.G. Photo Memories

Before coming to the United States, I took some pictures with my family and friends. I brought the pictures to America and put them in the best view on my desk. When I first came to the United States, I had good expectations but I also had fears. I didn’t have relatives and friends in America and only my family. I learned a lot about racism from Korea, but I didn’t think I would suffer. However, when I came here, I learned that there are some American students who really hate Korean students. One time, my first year in the US, an American student who didn’t know me started swearing at me and using racial slurs, but I couldn’t say anything because I didn’t speak enough English. I felt really embarrassed and terrible. I didn’t tell anyone because I was worried that student would find me and bother me more. Whenever something like that happened or I felt sad, I would look at the picture of my family and friends and I would wish I could go back to Korea.

However, if there are mean people, there are also kind people. A kind person came to me who was not good at English first, talked to me, and we did homework together. I felt encouraged thanks to kind people, and I was able to adapt to America with their help.

I also had a hard time at school. I wasn’t good at English, so I needed to bring my dictionary all the time. But some teachers didn’t want me to use the dictionary on the test, so it was really hard for me and I got bad grades. I always translated English in Korean in class and at home. I have to find words in Korean, so I can’t keep up with the class and pass the day when I have homework. I also looked at the pictures on my desk when I was having a difficult time in school. Studying English was so hard and I missed my friends and family. When I looked at the photos, I felt that I wanted to see them and that I had to work hard, and they helped me get through the difficult times at school. Now, I still have the photos on my desk, and I feel happy when I see my precious people smiling.

A girl looks at a picture frame with pictures of her family. Pictures of friends hang on the wall. Textbooks show that she is studying.

A bus drives on a road in the desert with mountains and cacti on either side of the road.

The Desert

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R.B. The Desert

When I came to the United States about two years ago, I came with my mother and my aunt with her three children. We had to leave Guatemala because we had complicated family problems, and our lives were in danger there.

Before we could leave, we had to find someone who would help us pass safely through Mexico. We found someone who said he would charge us $6,000 for the two of us the day we left. We agreed, and we arrived first at a house where all the people who were going to travel on the bus with us were waiting. That day we all got ready because we knew that it would be a long trip. The people who were leading us gave us some papers to study in case the migration authorities from Mexico stopped the bus in some state. The next day, we got up at three o’clock in the morning to start the trip to the United States, but the people taking our group received a call that it wasn’t safe to pass through the Mexican immigration checkpoint near the border, so we had to wait another day. We left the following day at three o’clock in the morning.

That day we went through Chiapas Mexico. I felt scared because I did not want to be stopped by migration. The people who took us had many more people working with them who were helping to protect us because the places we passed through in that part of Mexico have many migration checkpoints. When it was almost time to eat, I felt very nervous because of the migration police. I was very nervous and scared, but those who brought us were on the lookout and always went ahead of us to check on the situation. They had already provided safe passage to many more people before us, and there were a lot of people taking care of all of us so that the bus would not be stopped by migration. The next day, almost everything happened just the same. We had many new migration checkpoints and passed through places that were new and more difficult every day. Our group was very afraid and so was I.

The bus ride was very difficult. We spent three days without bathing. We spent three days sitting in the same position day and night all the time. The bus only stopped at most once per day so that we could go to the bathroom and eat, but in three days on the bus, we only stopped a total of two times. We managed to reach the border of Mexico and the United States, and there we all separated into different groups to able to cross the border as quickly as possible. We managed to pass through the border of the United States, but then after about five minutes, a border patrol car arrived. He picked us up and took us to a detention center where we waited with other immigrants who had also been picked up, and then they separated me from my mother. They took me to a house in Phoenix and my mom had to go to jail. I was in that house for a month, and then they sent me to Auburn, Alabama to live with my aunt and uncle, and my mother was released from detention five months later.

A bus drives on a road in the desert with mountains and cacti on either side of the road.

A painting with three train cars with small figures on top of the cars.

El Expreso al Sueño Americano

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M.G.C. El Expreso al Sueño Americano

The Farewell to my family

When I left Guatemala on April 18, 2016 it was an unforgettable and sad day for me because it was not so easy to leave my good family where I spent my childhood. It was a tearful farewell that hurt a lot, but I needed to come in order to know my true mother who I had not seen since I was three, because living with grandparents is not the same as living with your true mother. When I was six years old, my mom told me on the phone that I would join her here in America, but I did not think much about it at the time. Later, when I was thirteen, I started to think more about joining her here because I was too far away from my mom and I always missed her pretty smile, her pretty look. She had always called me on the phone, but that is not the same as seeing someone in person, so I made my decision to come to America to join her.

The Trip Through Mexico

When I left San Gaspar, I first traveled in a taxi to the border between Guatemala and Mexico. I arrived at the border at five in the afternoon, and I met the thirty other people who would travel with me. After that, we were in a wagon for a while, and then in the night we continued walking in the mountain. Then we traveled on the bus, I don’t remember how many nights, but it was not long. After that, we traveled in a truck for about four nights. There, we suffered more hunger, cold, dust, and thirst, and as we traveled further, it became more and more dangerous. On top of the train we traveled four nights, suffering from cold, hunger, thirst, heat and fear. The train goes through mountains and cities.

The scariest part of my journey on the train was when one of our guides suddenly told us that we all needed to jump off of the train while it was still moving too fast. People began jumping off safely, but I was the last person, and the boy in front of me almost fell underneath the train tracks and died. Thank God another person pulled him away from the moving train at the last minute and so nothing happened. But then because of this, I was too scared to jump at that time, and I rode the train a little longer until it slowed down a little bit before I jumped, and I had to walk with my uncle who stayed with me on the train in order to catch up with my group. I will never forget that moment when I almost saw someone die in front of me.

I crossed the border to America on May 9, 2016. I was very proud of myself for surviving my journey when I turned myself in to immigration late one night in San Luis. After that, I arrived in Arizona. I stayed for 15 days in a house where the workers treated me very well. I will never forget their kindness. Then I left Arizona on May 25, 2016 and arrived in Alabama at three in the afternoon. When the plane arrived at the airport, my mom was waiting for me. I looked at my mother, and I did not recognize her. But she recognized me, and she came to hug me. Without my mother, I felt a great sadness in my heart because it was such a long time without seeing each other, and I told her that we finally fulfilled our dreams. We cried, but we cried with joy, and now I feel super happy with her, and I have a good life.

In America I feel better than I did in my country. This is a very good country and it has many good laws to protect people. I feel very free. I never imagined that I would be here, but thanks to God for bringing me into a good country, and I feel very proud to be here.

A painting with three train cars with small figures on top of the cars.

Two girls in Iranian school uniforms stand in front of a school with yellow bricks.

Past & Future

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M.A. Past & Future

I painted my sister and myself standing in front of our school in Iran because school is very important for me since it can determine my future. I only came the US for one year and will be returning to Iran soon, so this school is my past and my future.

There are many differences between schools in Iran and here. My school was smaller than Auburn High School. In my country, students also respect their teachers more than students do here. Because in our culture, showing respect is very important. When I first came to the US, I was amazed that students usually don’t have so much homework. In Iran, I usually studied for 5-6 hours each day. Iranian students have to study and work harder for school because grades are so important. We also have 14 subjects each year. However, I think that when you don’t have so many things to do for school, you have more free time to do or learn new things that you like, and it’s better.

Another difference is that between every class in Iran, we have about 15 minutes of break time, but we don’t have lunch, so schools finish by 2 o’clock. Students wear uniforms for schools and we can’t choose what to wear. I think that it is good that students can choose what to wear at Auburn High School. In Iran, there are some rules that are against many students’ beliefs. For example, girls must wear hijab and all students must join the mandatory Islamic prayer. I don’t like many of the rules because I think things like prayer should be a personal choice, and these rules are a kind of imposition of beliefs.

This year is a good experience for me to learn new things, and I met new people. I’m happy that I had the chance to study in the US in high school and to try new things. I will go back to Iran this summer. I’m happy that I will go back to my home and see my family and friends again, but I will miss AHS and my friends here.

Two girls in Iranian school uniforms stand in front of a school with yellow bricks.

A painting with two sides. On the left, two figures play soccer in front of a red house. On the right, a figure sits on a bed staring at a phone.

Dolor

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L.M.G.C. Dolor

The Difficult Life of a Young Immigrant

There was a time when I had to make a very difficult decision because my family was having really hard times, and I made the very difficult decision to come to the United States. It was a very difficult decision because I am very close with my family, and I miss them a lot. To come here, I had to cross all Mexico alone, and those were the hardest days of my life. I had to travel all the way through Mexico. I walked a lot and spent two days on the dangerous train called the “Beast,” and those were very difficult days because it is so dangerous, but thanks to God I’m okay.

My decision to come here was very difficult, but I made it with very good intentions. I wanted to continue studying, and I could not do it in my country because there is so much poverty. My family had to pay the school every month and pay for my bus fare every day, and my mother did not have enough money to pay for all of that. My father did not have a job either. I have more younger siblings there that she also had to take care of, so my dream of school was a burden on my family. We also have a lot of problems with crime in my country, and you have to pay the gangs regularly so they do not hurt you or kill you.

Another reason I came here is because I want to help my brothers and my mother, who has a very serious illness, and I want her to heal. She does not even have enough money to go to a doctor. It is really difficult for her. I know that my mother feels bad that I am not there with her, and it is really difficult, and I feel sad that I cannot do anything more to help right now. My mom also does not have a right foot and has a difficult time walking. That is another reason for me to help her because it is very difficult for her to walk. I must fight for me and for my family.

One of my biggest dreams is to have a professional title to be someone in life, not to be a “nobody.” Now that I’m here in the United States, it’s really costing me a lot, because I really miss my family and am alone. Now I only communicate with them through a telephone, which is the only way we are able to communicate, and I am very sad that I won’t be able to see them for a long time. It’s very difficult when they share all the things that they are doing, and I can’t be there with them. I am happy that I can communicate with them every day, even though it’s very hard because we miss each other a lot. However, I know that if I stay, I will be able to help my family more in the future. I miss them a lot, but I will fight for my dreams and for my family.

A painting with two sides. On the left, two figures play soccer in front of a red house. On the right, a figure sits on a bed staring at a phone.

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Upcoming Events

Sun 23

Which Way Home: Community Films and Conversations

September 23 @ 1:00 pm - 3:30 pm
Thu 27

Museum Shop Sale

September 27 @ 10:00 am - 4:30 pm
Thu 27

Pianist David Bottoms: A Little Lunch Music

September 27 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm