Eagle Valley students tour NYC
May 20, 2012
NEW YORK – Since New York is the City That Never Sleeps, reasoned a group of Eagle Valley students, why should they?
And that’s how a half dozen or so Eagle Valley High School students managed to bite so much of the Big Apple in five days. They’re all from Marie Rita’s Spanish for Spanish Speakers class, and they had a great time – most of the time.
“It’s something new everywhere you turn,” Edgar Chavez said. “I was born in El Paso, so I’m used to cities, but New York was different from even that, different from anything. El Paso quiets down at night. New York really never sleeps.”
This was one of those education-cultural experiences, and they learned all kinds of stuff.
They could walk up the street and hear a half dozen languages in as many city blocks.
“There are people from everywhere: different cultures, different languages, immigrants from all over the world,” Vanessa Villa said. “It’s an amazing place.”
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New York City is home to 9 million people, and they’re all trying to get somewhere. You can’t stop and chat.
When you’re young and everything is new and your time is limited, sleep isn’t high on your priority list. The best thing about New York is waking up at 2 a.m. and not asking, “What can we do?” but “What do you want to do?” and they did it all.
They saw every kind of art: theater, street performance art, the Guggenheim museum, where Rita made them put on headphones so they could get some info about the various displays. It slowed them down a little but not much.
The subway was disgusting, said Lucia Rodriguez. Every wack-job in the universe lives in New York and sat beside them on the subway.
“The first day, they were alert and on edge,” Rita said. “By the third day, they’d settled down so much they were sleeping on the subway.”
They hadn’t been in the city for a day when they bit back on the Big Apple. A man was watching girls go by and spotted them.
“Go, short girls!” he shouted.
They spun around and were up in his grill immediately, asking, “What’s wrong with short girls?”
Nothing, he replied. Not one thing. Latina women will cook and keep house and take care of you …
“Do you want a wife or a slave?” they shot back.
Smiles ensued. They ended up taking pictures with him, which was Edna Torres’ idea.
“Edna was the most popular girl in New York,” Rita said.
Most people were pleasant, they said, especially police and security, except for the SWAT team on Wall Street, keeping track of the Occupiers. The SWAT team declined to pose for pictures. The Occupiers were much more willing to occupy a photo frame.
With so much to do, it was inevitable that they would have what is euphemistically called “an exercise in group dynamics,” quarreling briefly about what to do next. Everyone won a little; everyone lost a little. Chinatown will have to wait for the next trip.
They planned the trip for 14 months and raised about $1,800 per student. They sold food, they sold water at the LULAC Winter Formal, they raised money all the regular ways. They asked their parents for some of it. The group would have been bigger, but a few had to back out when their parents lost their jobs.
It takes four hours to fly from Denver to New York City’s LaGuardia Airport and into the flaming center of the universe.
“It was an experience in city living,” Villa said. “We live in a little town, and there you see everything, the best and the worst.”
Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 or firstname.lastname@example.org.