Letters from Carbondale Middle School
Editor’s note: The students in Adam Carballeira’s eighth-grade class at Carbondale Middle School recently completed a letter-writing project, addressing issues importance to them with their school, local and national leaders. The first round of five letters follows.Mayor, give us a mall(This letter was originally addressed to Michael Hassig, the mayor of Carbondale.)Dear Editor:My name is Vanessa Escontrias. I’m an eighth-grader in Carbondale Middle School. The reason why I’m writing to you is because we need a mall in Carbondale. It doesn’t matter how big it is.You might be asking yourself, why do we need that? Well this question does have an answer. You might notice that a lot of people from our town go to the Glenwood Springs Mall. But if we had a mall in our town that was better than the Glenwood Springs Mall, we might have all of Glenwood’s customers. With all that money that the mall gets, we could use it to improve our schools or other things that the town might need. Also, Carbondale’s citizens will be very excited, because they don’t need to pay so much money for gas, just to go to a very small mall.I can give some suggestions if you plan to make the mall in town. You should make the mall two stories high so it would get people’s attention. The mall should have 64 stores including a movie theater with eight movie rooms.Mayor, you could name it Carbondale’s Mall or whatever you prefer.I hope you find my suggestions good and I hope I persuade you.Vanessa EscontriasCarbondaleBring the soldiers home(This letter was originally addressed to President George W. Bush.)Dear Editor:Mr. Bush, I’m Olivia A. Perez from Carbondale Middle School. I would like to inform you that half our fellow Americans aren’t happy of the way you’re governing things. Don’t take it personal but how many people want you to quit?Anyways, I would like to talk to you about the soldiers from Iraq. I have three reasons why your fellow Americans and I want you to bring the soldiers back.The first reason why we want the soldiers back from Iraq is because their family misses them. Even though I don’t have anybody of the family in Iraq, I still want the soldiers to come back because I can feel what the other families are feeling.My second reason is because the soldiers are getting killed. One day I was watching a program named “Over There” and I saw a man coming back from war without a leg. I constantly hear in the news that there’s over two thousand soldiers from Iraq that have died.My third reason is because I don’t want people to hate you. I’m telling you this because the more people you send is the more people that are at risk of having your fellow Americans dislike you.These are my reasons why your fellow Americans and I want you to bring the soldiers back from Iraq.I hope that you consider what I have to say about the soldiers. If you receive my letter please write back or call (970) 963-7244.Olivia A. PerezCarbondaleSchool’s too strictDear Editor:Hi, I’m Cecilia Hernandez. I’m a eighth-grade student from Carbondale Middle School. I’m writing because I think the schools are being too strict.They are being strict because they give you detention, Saturday School, and they don’t let you wear bandanas. They give you detention if you have three checks. You can get checks by chewing gum, being late, being disrespectful, or talking when the teacher is talking. I think giving checks is fair but giving you detention is not. It is not because when you can’t go to detention they give another one and I think it is not fair because students have other things to do after school and they can’t stay for detention.Another thing that I think that is not fair is Saturday School. They give you Saturday School if you don’t turn in your homework, projects, or if you are a behavior issue. There is one reason I think Saturday school is good, because you can get your homework done, but for other reasons Saturday School is not fair. It is not fair because students have other things to do on Saturday and because Saturday is a day when students go out with their friends or with their family. Saturday School is not fair for one other reason, it’s not fair because the behavior students need to clean the school, and what I have noticed is that students need to go to finish their missing projects or homework. Not to clean.The last thing that I think the schools are being unfair is that we can’t wear bandanas. I know that teachers think that if a student is wearing the same color of bandana they are in a gang. Well for one reason I respect that, I respect it because they are their ideas and I can’t do anything to change their mind, but I think they should let students wear bandanas. I think that they should let students wear bandanas because some of the students wear them because it goes with the clothes that they are wearing and because they are cool and they have cool pictures.Well, these are the reasons that I think the schools are being too strict and I hope teachers and principals will notice that giving detentions, Saturday School, and not letting you use bandanas are not fair sometimes, and I also hope that they will change their minds about these things.Cecilia HernandezCarbondaleOn racism and immigrationDear Editor:If you want to make people angry, lie to them. If you want to make them absolutely livid, then tell ’em the truth.Patriotism is supporting your country all the time and your government when it deserves it. – Mark TwainI recently read a summary of an immigration/overpopulation conference that took place in Washington D.C., former Colorado Governor Dick Lamm gave a stunning speech. This speech addressed the issue of immigration and how it is destroying America. I completely agree that illegal immigration is destroying the very roots that define us as Americans.Mr. Lamm said he would replace the melting pot metaphor with a salad bowl metaphor, and this is destroying America. In a melting pot, we all come together as one. In a salad bowl, there are different people with different cultural histories that don’t come together.I have noticed this in Carbondale. At he middle school, you will hear more about being diverse or different and see children trying to be different rather than working together as one and working towards building a team. This is obvious when you look at our eighth-grade boys football and basketball teams. I played on both of them. Our football team only won one game and in basketball we had no wins. It wasn’t that we didn’t have good players or coaches. As a matter of fact, we had some amazing talent on our teams and our coaches were outstanding. If you listened to what was said between us on or off the field, it was obvious we did not build as a team, including myself. The reason we didn’t win was because we didn’t work together.Seymore Lipset put it this way: “The histories of bilingual and bicultural societies that do not assimilate are histories of tension and tragedy.”The tension at Carbondale Middle School is very high and it seems not too many realize this. The racist comments which go back and forth between the Anglos and Hispanics are seen as harmless jokes. Sadly, I too often take part in these harmless jokes.I feel that someday this racism will overcome our country if we as American citizens do not uphold our civil duty to view each other as Americans and work hand in hand to find our common ground.I do feel that legal immigration is healthy for America. Legal immigrants come here with the intention to work hard and be a part of American culture. In general, illegal immigrants come to make money. They are not interested in getting along in American society. They create tension which is a cause of racism. So their presence here damages the reputation of legal immigrants who are interested and willing to adapt to American culture.The immigration conference article did not clearly give any possible solutions to America’s immigration problem. I have drawn a few ideas of my own to help our serious and growing problem. For instance I believe that the wall that protects major cities from illegal entry from bordering countries should be extended through the deserts and mountains. This would not only stop illegal entry, it will also stop millions of deaths that occur each year of those who don’t quite make through the journey to America. This would save thousands of lives. And where is the Mexican government in all of this? Don’t they care that thousands of their people die every year trying to cross? You would think it would be in their best interest to secure their borders. Second, it would help if the law cracked down on employers who hire illegal immigrants. As of right now I’ve even heard of banks opening accounts for illegals.There is hope though; President Bush just announced a plan for more border patrol agents and funding. This plan includes labor enforcement and a guest worker program. This is not much out of what still needs to be done, though it is a step in the right direction and we have to start somewhere.I hope my views were not misinterpreted. I strived to make this as honest and objective as possible. I have many friends which are immigrants and I have no hate or dislike towards anyone simply because of their race. I only want illegal immigration to be controlled so that we can better appreciate the diversity of our town and our country.Jerek BickfordCarbondaleNot doing a good job, Bushie(This letter was originally addressed to President George W. Bush.)Dear Editor:My name is Ingrid Gomez. I’m an eighth grade student at Carbondale Middle School. This may sound strange coming from an eighth grader but I think that you’re not doing a good job at being president of the United States of America. Before you rush to throw this letter away I want to say that I have reasons to back up my opinion.Reason number one of why I think that you’re not doing your job well is because of the war of Iraq. I know, I know, that war is over. But is it really?Let me explain why this is one of my reasons. Everyone hears that the war is over. I don’t think that that is true because of many reasons. My reasons are as follows, or better yet questions: If the war is really over why are there still soldiers in Iraq? The excuse that I hear is that they’re trying to help them form a government. If that’s true then shouldn’t there be a congressman there instead of soldiers? Also, if this war is really over then why are soldiers still dying? When a war is over soldiers don’t die.Maybe you can answer me those questions, because if I’m wrong about all of this it would be good to know the right thing. Don’t you agree?Reason number two of why I think this is because of the new law that you have passed down. What this new law is about is the Mexicans. The law that I’m talking about is the one that you made of having more guards at the frontier and not making any peace with Mexico. My reasons of why I think this are as follows: First of all I’m a Mexican-American citizen of the United States of America. I respect both of the countries. I enjoy going to Mexico to visit my family members that live in Mexico. I don’t think that I will be able to do a lot of that anymore because it’s hard to get permission to cross even if you do have papers. Another reason of why this law is unfair is because of war. Yes, war. This law might cause a war to break out between Mexico and America. I think this because people are strong in what they believe in. That’s how many wars started in American history. The war that I’m mostly referring to is the American Revolution. That war started from people who were strong in what they believed in. Just like John Adams. This brings me to my third reason of all which has to do with history and John Adams. When John Adams became president of the United States of America, he passed down two unconstitutional laws. The first one, the Sedition Act, gives me a right to write this letter. It doesn’t exist anymore. The second unconstitutional law was the Alien Act. What this law did was keep any immigrants from the United States of America. This law is just like the one that you have passed down, of not allowing the Mexican immigrants to come into America. The only difference that there is, is that John Adams aimed this law at the French immigrants and you have aimed at the Mexican immigrants instead. I believe this law is unconstitutional because in the Constitution it says that any person is allowed into America, that their religion or background does not matter. The reason of why these laws don’t exist anymore is because they were against the Declaration of Independence. That’s why I think that your law is unconstitutional.My last reason of why I believe that you’re not being a good president is because of the hurricanes that have happened this year. You might be thinking: What do the hurricanes have to do with anything? Well let me tell you they have a whole lot to do with you. When Hurricane Katrina hit what did you do? Let me answer that for you. You sent the secretary of state to New Orleans instead of going yourself. Why did you do that? You than changed your mind when a different hurricane hit Texas. As soon as you heard you rushed over there to see if the refugees were all right. Why did you decide to go there instead of going to New Orleans? The hurricane that hit New Orleans was worse than the one that hit Texas. Those are my reasons of why I believe that you’re doing a bad job as president of the United States. I would like to know your side of the story. Please write back to me as soon as you finish reading this letter. These things might sound foolish coming from an eighth grade girl in the little town of Carbondale, Colorado. But I do expect you to write back because if you don’t that will only prove that you don’t care what people think about what you’re doing. I respect you but I don’t think that what you’re doing is right. Ingrid GomezCarbondale
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