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Little Asian Boy

Pre-K

I remember as if it were a lucid nightmare. I was only 4-years-old entering Pre-K for the first time knowing very limited English. I clearly remember the teacher asking me my name.
"What is your name?" She asked.
I replied hesitantly,"Tên tôi là, Dat." Which meant my name is, Dat in Vietnamese. Pre-K made me felt like an outcast. I was constantly stared at, made fun of, and left alone during recess. I always wandered about not knowing what to do with myself. I usually spent my days alone in that corner of the classroom and played with the dominoes. I'd always run to that first when the teacher announced that it was play time because it was the only thing that I really knew how to do. My loneliness was so horrid that one day I even cried, and the teacher didn't even know why. It was because the teacher asked us to get into groups of threes, and I was left standing alone. My Pre-K was the opposite of fun.

3rd Grade

My English improved, but that didn't stop the kids from bullying me around. I joined a recreational club at my school in hopes of making new friends. That idea gained me the opposite. There was this one kid who clearly spent his nights thinking of new ways to pick on me.
"Ching-Chong. Ching-Chong" he'd always say as he approaches me and places his fingers on the sides of his eyes and pulled it back to make his eyes smaller like mines. His persistence in making my days miserable was remarkable.
"That kid is always making fun of me," I said to the recreational instructors as I was wiping my tears away.
"Is this true?" he asked the bully.
"No, of course not" the bully replied. Of course I expected him to deny this.
It got to the point where he yelled out another racist remark, and it made me mad. I ran at him with a full sprint and tackled him onto the basketball court. The other kids were staring in awe because the once quiet, lonely, and nerdy kid just retaliated against one of the most feared kids at school.
"What's going on!" the instructor yelled,"Get off of him!" he demanded. I continued to swing at his arms which were blocking his face until the instructor lifted me from the bully's chest. The bully stood up slowly with a raged expression on his face and a bloody lip. He launched forward at me and tackled me away from the instructor's grip, but before he could go any further, the instructor broke up the fight.
I was at the pool hoping that his childish ways were over. I thought wrong. He approached me near the diving board and started to make more racist remarks at me. I just stood there with a blank expression staring at the ground. I had enough of him and turned to the side. I twisted my hips back towards him followed by my right leg. I swung it towards him with all my might. My leg connected with his stomach. He fell to the ground followed by a loud outburst,"Ahhhh!" The instructors held me back and another instructor picked up the bully. I was calmly standing there feeling accomplished as to what I just done. The bully didn't look too good. He was stumbling as he walked away and before he could make it to the bench, he threw up all over the ground. I was shocked as to how hard I kicked him. My 3rd grade year was a step up because I had just faced my fears.

7th Grade

I remember my 7th grade year as the year I almost gave in. It was the year that I was at my absolute worst condition. I felt as if the world was about to collapse around me. I felt as if I was never wanted and no one liked me. I felt like I was never good enough or even smart enough to achieve better things for my parents. I had a huge fear of failing.
My friends would always ask,"Dat, what's wrong?"
Of course I'd always reply,"Nothing. I'm just sleep deprived."
School was my main source of depression. I felt as if the world was better off without me. I always imagined how my parents life would be without me. I knew they'd be sad with the loss of their son, but I somehow knew they'd get over it and live a happier life. It got to the point where I was just eating less, never smiling, sitting alone at lunch, and even lying down on my bed for hours staring out into the night. I never got over this state until I entered my 8th grade year and my closest friends helped me.

Freshman Year

This was the year I was a complete stranger. I moved up to New Orleans, scared out of my mind because I was entering high school. I never imagined that I would leave my hometown. There were no familiar faces, and I stayed to myself. I felt like all eyes were on me as I walked passed by large groups. The second day was much better because I made a new friend in class.
We introduced each ourselves,"Hello. I'm Dat."
"Hi. My name is Kenny." He replied. He introduced me to his group of friends, and we all quickly became acquainted with each other. One day at lunch, I walked by his group and noticed them break dancing. I was so interested and met up with them.
I kept on asking,"Dude, how do you do that?" My new friend, Kenny, saw my interest and he began to teach me the basics. I had a new passion that I practiced for hours at home in my garage. I could never be more appreciative as to what he did for me. It's amazing how one person can have such a huge impact on your life, and today I am still dancing. I'm reaching my fourth year.

Junior Year

Two years have passed by and I was still continuing my passion. I had also joined my first dance crew with my best friend, Ed. Our crew was called Pocky Eating Pandas or PEP Crew for short. In the beginning it was really fun, but then we started to grow a disliking towards each other because things didn't always work out between us. Bad planning, bad timing, and wrong use of words always brought us to arguments.
"You need to plan things better" I demanded,"instead of showing up at my front door and asking to dance in my garage!"
"You need to be more free,"He retaliated,"who always listens to their parents and has so much homework!"
"Forgive me for trying to stay out of trouble and wanting a good life unlike you!"
After that argument, we went our separate ways and our crew was over. This year didn't make dancing so fun, but I learned a valuable lesson. Friends come and go.

Senior Year

I spent this year to its greatest potential. By this time of year, I was really well known throughout my school because of my dancing. We'd always spend our lunch dancing outside. There would always be a crowd forming right outside our circle. It always felt great to me because for once I was the one inside the circle being praised by the spectators. I wasn't the one spectating wishing I could do the things they were doing.
"Can you teach me how to dance?" several people would ask almost every week. One day, a friend suggested that I start a break dancing club at the school. I thought to myself that it wasn't such a bad idea. I did all the paperwork with my principal and it was official. I had started this school's very first John Ehret Breaker's Club. We had over one hundred sign-ups but only fifty people showed up. That was more than enough. I couldn't run this club by myself so I asked some close friends who've danced with me for years to be superiors in the club. They joined in the fun. We performed for our international night, which was a night where all clubs performed for their culture, and we also performed for our school's nurses. The event was called Fitness Wellness Weak. We performed on stage to show our will to be active and healthy. I ended my year perfectly.

Post Script

I will always remember these grades the most because there was always something that stood out the most to me. I won't regret anything that has happened because it's those events that made me the person I am today. I am proud of the way I ended up. I have many friends who respect me, and I have a new dance crew that never has the same problems like the last. The biggest lesson I've learned from all of this was to cherish my elementary, middle, and high school days because I will always miss those days the most.



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