June Literacy Feature: "Columbus Day"

Columbus Day
Written by Phat Le, Waite Park

Today we celebrate the date that Christopher Columbus and his crew set foot on the island of San Salvador in October, 1492 as the first traveler in the Americas. Christopher didn’t go to school to get education, but he has a lot of tutors in the navigation area who were proficient sailors. In the same way, Christopher Columbus’ tutors prepared him for his journey to the new world, Mr. Paul is preparing me for my life in the new country.

I’m learning English in Adult Basic Education. One of the skills that I am enthusiastic to learn is American idiom. I know that an idiom is the natural manner of speaking to a native speaker in the language. I wish to learn and speak a few of those proficiently. The American idioms are confusing, funny, and surprising to me. I have learned a lot of American idioms with my tutor Mr. Paul. He was a soldier in World War II. He is a strong, tall man. His face is ruddy, his eyes are intelligent, and his voice is as sonorous as the sound of a bell. His mind is strangely perspicacious. Although he is 88 years old he seems like a man of 78 years old. He is in the stage of his life that offers him the luxury of time. He still comes to Adult Basic Education twice a week as a brave soldier to go to bat for new immigrants so they have a good opportunity to practice English skills. Sometimes I wonder why he loves us as much as he does and why he doesn’t leave us high and dry. Perhaps he wants to help us have a good life in this country. English is the first step that we need to try and take and we are looking for the next step. I comprehend this deeply. Therefore I am trying to take advantage of these changes to obtain the knowledge for myself. I also appreciate his invaluable assistance, his patience, and his forbearance.

In April 1492, Queen Isabella and Christopher had an important decision that changed the history of the world. The helping of Mr. Paul with us could be like that. Why not?


Author Biography

My name is Phat Le. I am a new immigrant from Vietnam. I have been in the US
two and a half years. I am learning English in Waite Park, Minnesota. I also get
the invaluable assistance from my tutor Mr. Paul. I wrote this essay to display my
heartfelt gratitude to him. I am happy about my English ability. I hope that he will
be happy when he reads this essay.


If you want to read more stories from adult learners like Phat, check out the 2013 Journeys anthology of student writing! You can purchase Journeys online or in person at:

Magers & Quinn Booksellers
3038 Hennepin Ave. South
Minneapolis, MN 55408
866-912-6657 (toll free)

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