Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

My Stage This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

By

   "Ladies and gentlemen, the first place in the speech contest goes to Alice Tzou," the principal announced. I saw my entire class celebrating and hugging one another.

Again, I had won, just like other speech, debate, and essay contests. As a ninth grader in Taiwan, I had delivered the best speech to six thousand people in an auditorium. I was a leader, a star, receiving the applause of those who knew me, swaggering upon my shining stage.

Suddenly, in September 1994, I was dropped into the U.S. where I could not speak to even six people at a time, since I did not know much English. I was not even able to go to a fast-food restaurant because I did not know what and how to order. Having lost my spotlight, I entered tenth grade silently, no longer a star but a frustrated member of the audience, clapping for other people.

One day in a dance class in my new school in this new country, I was grouped by the teacher with two other girls. As I was introducing myself, one of the girls said to me, "Go away! You wouldn't know what we are saying." How I managed to get away from them without losing face I cannot recall. All I remember is that in those days, as soon as the bell rang I would run home and cry. I was made fun of and ostracized. I did not want to talk; I did not dare. With my self-confidence drowned, my social skills lost, and my sense of humor gone, I could not breathe.

But I knew I could not give up. I absorbed as much English as I could. Two years later, as a senior in high school, I find myself backstage - already a substantial move from being in the audience. I write for my high school newspaper, I participate in Forensics, Drama, and the Select Choir, speaking and singing as loudly as everyone else. Being a competitive student with a built-in momentum and a thirst of learning, I am encouraged, yet not completely satisfied with the book award given to me by The 21st Century for the most improvement in English, nor with a perfect score in voice solo by New York School Music Association. I am getting ready to perform on stage again.

The most important step on my way toward the footlights was the Harvard Summer Session I attended in 1996. The atmosphere allowed me to meet students from all over the world. I learned that as long as my heart is open to anything and anyone, I will be happy. I made good friends through whom I rediscovered my sense of humor; I was able to laugh again and to make others laugh. I proved to myself as well as to others that I found my old self - the confident, the victorious.

College, I hope, will be another dazzling stage for me to strut upon. -


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!




Site Feedback