By Courtney Martoochia
Greenport High School
2020 Scholarship Winner Courtney Martoochia
Growing up in Greenport has given me the opportunity to meet all sorts of people and has also given me the honor in helping some of those people succeed. I am supportive of living in such a diverse community because having different cultures in Greenport helps build trust and respect to those that help us. Working in the town has brought many new people into my life, one being a Salvadorian boy named Javier. I met Javier while working at First and South in the summer of 2017, I was a busser and he was a dishwasher. Since our positions correlated with each other in the restaurant, I needed a way to talk to him. We had a difficult time communicating with each other because he had a hard time speaking English while I had a hard time understanding Spanish. It’s times like this where I wish I chose Spanish class instead of French class in high school, but that did not stop us from learning. We shifted from co-workers to friends over the course of the summer.
Javier and I both attended Greenport High School, him being in the grade above me. We would start to have conversations about what was around us as we walked through the town. I remember I always had to remind him how to properly pronounce certain restaurants. Our conversations started to become more fluent. We started to have full conversations in english and improved in Spanish. As we went back to school, he started to struggle because he was moved out of the ENL classes for passing the average understanding of the english language. I would sit with him at lunch and help him with his reading homework, I helped him with his pronunciation and syntax. I would teach him how to properly write an essay and what MLA format was. I also taught him how to write proper emails to teachers.
I helped Javier study for his regents exams that he needed to graduate high school, I made him flashcards with important terms or topics for each subject. It was important for me to make sure that he was not just learning these topics for the test, but for the long term as well. While we went for walks I would ask him questions about US history, this helped him understand what was currently going on as well as understanding the pendulum shifts in history. After hours of studying he passed all of the necessary exams for graduation. Being able to help Javier not only speak better english, but helping him pass his regents exams to graduate is a huge accomplishment for me because it proves that I can help and motivate others to keep going. Javier was going to dropout his senior year to work, but he did not because I helped and motivated him to finish the home stretch of high school.
I think it is important to help people around in my community because it shows a sign of respect no matter what nationality they are. In the work area it can be very stressful when there is a problem in communication. If everyone took a little time out of their day to better understand each other, then there would be less problems inside of the working environment. From personal experience, it is hard but it is not impossible. Greenport ls known for its diverse community which is great because more people feel welcomed into the town, people coming to settle here for a home and even visitors. Greenport is a home for all, I feel as if everyone here is my family no matter what nationality they are . If l did not get close to Javier, I would have never known how to make pupusas and how amazing they taste.
I am beyond proud to live in this small town because l have created great bonds with people all over, as well understanding aspects of other cultures in Greenport. I am happy to call this place home as well as call the people here my family. It feels good to earn the trust and respect from other people as well as helping them complete their dreams. In the future, l would like to join some organizations in colleges to help people in my new community