‘Newcomer’s’ gratitude for school, home, country recognized by mayor’s office

Salvadorian student wins first place in citywide poetry contest just six weeks after immigrating to U.S.

fondrenms_student’Tis the season for feeling thankful, and when the Newcomers Academy at Fondren Middle School student Daniela Fuentes expressed her gratitude, it won first place in the City of Houston’s Citizenship Month Poetry Competition earlier this month.

Although the eighth-grader just moved here from El Salvador in late September, she has already met Houston’s first lady, Kathy Hubbard, who presented her with a plaque in a ceremony held at the Asia Society of Houston. Fuentes read her poem aloud to hundreds of distinguished guests before it was put on display at the University of Houston-Downtown library.

Fellow classmate Fati Bouraima, a seventh-grader from Benin, Africa, received honorable mention for her poem.

Held annually in November, Citizenship Month was established by the City of Houston six years ago to celebrate the city’s vibrant mix of people from all over the world.


A Citizen Here, a Citizen Now
By Daniela Fuentes

There, I have friends only Salvadoreans, but here, I have new friends from every country.
Then, I only speak Spanish, but now, I have speak Spanish and English.
There, I wish for opportunity, but here, I wish for more opportunity.
Then, I hope to be a student, and here, I hope to be a great student.
There and then I was El Salvador, but here I am a Salvador American.

Then, here, then and now, I am a citizen.

I am
I am Salvadorean
I am Salvadorean girl
I am beautiful, smart Salvadorean girl
I am proud, smart, beautiful Salvadorean girl
I am proud Salvadorean in America
I am proud in America
I am in America
I am America
I am