Art means a lot to me. Growing up in New York as a young teenager who came from another country, I felt as if I was an outcast from society due to the language barrier and numerous ethnic groups different than mine. Coming to New York from the Dominican Republic, I was placed in an ESL (English as a Second Language) class at Leonardo da Vinci IS 61 in Queens. I remember trying to speak to a girl who was not an ESL student. She was playing with her friends, tossing an orange back and forth, when she failed to catch it and the orange landed by my feet. She did not notice where it had gone, so I picked it up and tried to toss it back to her, at the same time telling her in Spanish, “Here it is.” The girl jumped back surprised and thought that I tried to hit her with the orange, so she began to curse me out. I didn't know what she was saying, but it was clear that it wasn't nice. I tried to explain myself, but she was not trying to hear me. This experience made me feel terrible.

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