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brother and sister

One of the most important people in my life is my brother Briggs. He is two years younger than me, and I don't remember a time without him being in my life. We have moved a lot throughout growing up because of my Dad’s work and college. Besides, my parents went through all of that with me. Although we don't always get along perfectly, we have made a lot of great memories together. Some of my favorites are boating and playing sports together. Briggs is someone who makes me want to be a better person. He is really competitive and works hard at everything he does. His example makes me want to work harder to be a better athlete and student. Another thing I love about Briggs is that he always has my back. If I am upset about something, I know he feels the same. He is someone who is always there for me even if it is in his quiet way. Everyone needs someone like Briggs in their life. I have three other siblings and I am lucky to have all of them. I believe the greatest gift our parents ever gave us is each other.

girl

I remember living in Mexico. I played soccer, and when I played I got the position of forward and I would also play defense. I would like to be the person I was in Mexico. I came to the U.S. on March 13, 2014, and my soccer position became goalie. I miss my friends and my family. I wanted to go to Mexico for vacation but couldn’t because of my class and my grades. But I was told not to worry because there are more opportunities to go. The first thing I have to do is wait and give myself some time so I can return. I have made friends here, but it is not the same because I miss my friends in Mexico. Though it is similar. I would like to thank Brendaly, because since I arrived she became my friend,and I hope that everything goes well for her. The U.S. and Mexico are very different countries because of the language, the people, and the food. However both countries have some of the same religions and cultures. We came to America for the same reason that many others do, the opportunity to study and have a better life.

 

girl

My country is Ethiopia. My country has different culture, food, and school. I came here because of war in my country. l like life here because this life is better and l can get an education. l love education because you learn a lot. I came here in 2015 and now I am in 10th grade. My first day of school I wasn't afraid but it was very hard to understand the language, but now l understand a lot of English. I felt afraid my first day in the United States because got lost at the airport in New York. But then some people came up to us and helped us. We lived in Buffalo for 4 months and then we moved to Fort Morgan. I love Fort Morgan.

girl

I’m from Somalia. When I came to the United States, I was able to get a better life and a better education. But when I came to the United States I was so scared because I saw different people. When I went to school everyday, I felt lost and I didn’t speak English. Everyday I would cry and I didn’t eat anything. Now I have learned English and I eat everything. I’m so happy that I will graduate next year. When I graduate I will go to college and I will study medicine. When I finish college I will go back to Africa and I will help poor people. That is my dream and I love my beautiful country. My country looks like heaven.

boy on skateboard

I was born in Guatemala but, when I was like one year old my mom left me and went to Los Angeles. Then my grandmother, she was the best woman, took care of me but she died when I was thirteen years old so I had to take care of myself because I didn’t have any family with me. But my mom brought me to Los Angeles when I was seventeen years old. It was a special day for me because that’s the first day I had ever met my mom. I was so happy with her and I was happy with my new family who was born in the United States. In Los Angeles, I learned how to skateboard. I love skateboarding because it makes me feel like I can fly.After 1 year in Los Angeles I moved to Fort Morgan. I moved because I was eighteen and my mom told me I have to take care of myself. So during the summer I started working and I continued to go to school. But, after summer I didn’t have any more work to pay my rent. So my aunt visited Los Angeles and she saw me walking around crying and she asked me, “what is wrong?” And I told her “I don’t have anything and I don’t even feel like a real person because I don’t have anybody.”So she told me to come live with her in Fort Morgan. My mom said that was okay so now I’m living with my aunt and uncle. My aunt is so nice with me and she treats me like I am her son and her children treat me like I am a brother to them. So now she is giving me an opportunity to study, but she is also giving me a home and a family. I am so happy living here because when I was in Guatemala, I didn’t have any brothers or sisters. I was very sad and too lonely because I didn’t have anybody who would talk to me or play games with me. But now I’m very happy because I have an opportunity to study and learn more new things like how to speak English. And I love to be part of a family.

boy

I was born in Texas, but my parents took me to Mexico when I was a newborn. After fifteen years of living in Mexico, my uncles gave me the opportunity to live in their house here in the United States so I could have the opportunity to go to school. I go to Mexico to visit my family during the holidays and we are still in contact every day, but I miss them very much. When I came to the United States, at first I felt something strange because I was already accustomed to the life of Mexico and I wanted to be with my parents. At the beginning I did not want to come because I was unsure of what life would be like in the United States. The first time I came the Border Patrol asked several questions to my uncles about why I did not have passport and why I only cross with my birth certificate, because sometimes people make fake birth certificates to cross. But the good thing is I was allowed to cross into the United States. We took a long trip because my uncles made several stops for food and for the bathroom. We took the fourteen hour trip to Colorado and then we arrived in Fort Morgan. This was the great journey of my life. But, I love my family a lot and I miss them a lot.

girl

I was born in the United States, but all of my life I grew up in Mexico. Mexico is where I went to school, where I made friends, where I learned my language, and Mexico is where all of my family lives.I have a brother and a sister and the only language that we speak is Spanish. Well, that is what everyone speaks in Mexico. Not too long ago, my father received his residency, giving him the chance to be in the United States. We moved to the United States because there are many beautiful opportunities here. It was difficult having to leave everything behind because we had to adjust to a new country, new house, new language, and new people. Everything was new and different for me. It was very hard and scary at first.
A couple months have passed and I have become accustomed to everything. Now I have new friends and a new home. I’m trying to learn the new language. However, I do miss Mexico. I miss the food, the places, the people, and my family. But overall, I am so happy to work hard so I can become a successful person here in the United States.

school

My heritage is Somali but I lived in Ethiopia. Many people don’t understand what that means, but it means I lived in Ethiopia to escape war, but my family is from Somalia. In Ethiopia there is a place called Somali Land where many Somali people live. When I came to the United States I first lived in Buffalo, New York. I lived there for 6 months and then we moved to Fort Morgan, Colorado. The whole time I have lived in the United States, I haven’t forgotten Ethiopia. When I left my country I was in 7th grade. When I came to the United States, I didn't understand the language of the United States and I didn't know the rules at school or the rules in this new country. After some time, people taught me the rules, customs, and culture in the United States. I am also learning how to communicate in English. I love the United States because everybody is very different and there are many different languages. I love the United States and I love living in Fort Morgan.

 

picture

“Hola buenos dias, que va a llevar?”

It warmed my heart to see my overworked parents taking their first vacation since they opened their business twelve years ago, opening early in the morning and working well past the closing hour.  I was right there with them, helping everyday after school until we went home, waking up early on the weekends to help stack the tortillas de maiz, counting and stacking tortillas until I reached a kilo.

When I was old enough to see over the counter I could help run the register. I learned to recite, “Hola buenos dias, que va llevar?” with a smile to every customer. Switching between my parents native tongue and English came easily to me. From an early age I accepted my childhood was going to be different from most.  

As a child of immigrants, I had to make sacrifices as well. I learned to do many things on my own, not relying on anyone to help and to perfect my work and take pride in every accomplishment no matter the size.

Growing up in a household so enriched in culture is a defining part of who I am. My Latina roots continue to shape my life and my everyday decisions in life.

man at game

The exhaust brake whirs as the truck makes its way down the incline,  and the engine’s loud rumble echoes off the side of the mountains surrounding it.  The driver of the truck is aggravated:  Missouri drivers habitually slam on their brakes in front of him as he struggles to decelerate in time, something he is unused to in the less crowded roads of Colorado.  

The driver is Matt, a recreational trap-shooting instructor.  The passengers of the truck include Aerick, his son; Luke, my brother; and me.  We’re making a trip to Sparta, Illinois where we will compete in the Grand American Trapshoot along with a few other members of our team following in a car behind us.   

“Luke, wake up!” I excitedly tell him as the river I’ve been anticipating closes in. “It’s the Mississippi River!”

“Aerick!” Matt yells, before Luke slaps him awake across the face.  Aerick regains consciousness as he confusedly looks around the truck.  A giant truss bridge stretches over a massive river---at least a mile wide.  I glance at a green road sign which reads “Missouri River.”  

“Oh,”  I mumble, after having assured everyone it was the Mississippi.  

“Just kidding!”  Matt laughs.

“You guys suck,” says Aerick, mad to be waken so violently to such disappointment.  Aerick leans back in his seat as he attempts to go back to sleep, pouting because he had been slapped. I lean back amused.

 

flowers

She’s beautiful like a lily
Many people wouldn’t believe her name was Lily.
She’s been hurt and torn apart many times,
But when water comes into her life,
It destroys all the knives.
Reaching for a goal,
Hopes she’ll get there soon.
Only hopes that one day they all come true.

dress

I grew up in a Mexican household filled with family, love, and warm greetings. I didn’t always feel like I belonged--maybe because I don’t speak Spanish that well or because I haven’t visited Mexico much. Even so, the traditions and culture bring us together. The quincenera is a celebration of a girl's fifteenth birthday and her transition from childhood to adulthood. I always dreamed about those big bright, beautiful dresses that swing around when doing the waltz and the  big spotlight with nobody else is in the room (even though it’s actually the bright fluorescent lighting of the venue your parents rented). Still it looks and feels magical. Finally the day I’d been waiting for arrived. My mother laced up the back of my dress perfecting the bow.  Loud music started playing as I opened my bedroom door and stuffed my big blue dress through. A bright light from the video camera was on me. The mass felt very overwhelming, but I was surrounded by so much love.. My centerpieces were all handmade filled with bright pink flowers and glitter. This quinceañera symbolized my family's hard work and success that got us to where we are now. It begins with a grand entrance by the court, my ten closest family and friends, including myself. The father-daughter dance was perfectly choreographed.  Traditions that take place at the reception usually are the presentation of the last doll and the high heel shoe exchange. The shoe exchange and the presentation of the doll mark the end of the Quinceañera’s childhood. This is a reminder for me and my parents that I am no longer that little girl I used to be and they have witnessed me grow everyday to become the young lady I am today.

rocks

As I hung the final aluminium Station of the Cross on those old railroad ties, I felt the satisfaction of finishing a task that I had set upon by my own will, but finished for others. Back in third grade I started on an adventure:  my first Cub Scout meeting with my father by my side. The years of camping, hiking, pioneering, and Merit Badges flew by, and before I knew it I was a Life Scout walking through the field that was home to St. Helena’s Catholic Church’s outdoor Stations of the Cross. Surrounded by the worn out majesty of fourteen crosses, I pondered the next step to take on my path to Eagle Scout. I reached the seventh Station and I saw beauty buried beneath a layer of the past. “Why shouldn’t I be the one who resurrects these Stations of the Cross?” I planned for months and raised money for vibrant aluminium Stations with oak frames that would replace the broken paintings of the past. I found a simple gravel for a pathway and a method for putting the crosses into the ground. Finally, family, scouts, friends, parishioners, and even passersby with no stake in the venture stood by my side. We dug with shovels and posthole diggers.  As sweat poured over our brows, we tilled and excavated a pathway. We gently placed the Stations into their new homes, one by one. At long last, I found myself clutching that fourteenth Station with a beautiful image of Jesus being laid into the tomb.   I realized that I was no longer completing a project, or fulfilling a requirement, but rather painting the last stroke of a childhood to prove to those around me that my decision was  for the people who surrounded me and the Guy upstairs. With that realization, I was no longer a child stumbling through life, but rather an adult marching forward with a new view of the world.

 

selfie

It’ll be years from now
When you open your eyes and see
That the little girl with freckles dancing across her chubby rosy cheeks
Will no longer be hoping and waiting for the love you could never give

Instead, I’ll be loving and being loved by the man who taught me what love was
I’ll be laughing, and I’ll be finally happy with my life
No longer will a hole remain in my heart from your absence
I’ll be me.

muscles

My lovely profession
As a youtuber and Body Firm worker
Feeling welcomed isn't what matters
But what you DO does.
Europe is where I belong
Yet happiness surrounds me
My dear beloved
Overdosed on thankfulness
Leaves me angerless
The dark
Crafted me into light
Kai Green proves the importance of thoughts becoming things
Change?
Regrets are a waste of time
I believe everything happens for reasons
No matter the season
Now, where's my next meal?
Ah yes, the ingredients
Are everywhere.

boy

I am a boy who was born in Somalia. Somalia was my favorite place partially because it was my homeland. Then I moved to Ethiopia where I grew up for most of my life. After that I came to the United States that was so far away from my country, but I like it so far because I started to learn English that was so hard for me, but I tried very hard. Then I came to Fort Morgan and it was my new home. I like Fort Morgan like everybody likes their home, but I saw different people and a different culture, and a different language. I have a lot of experience because I know a lot about Ethiopian people and Ethiopia. In my country it is every hard to get jobs and the education is not the best. Also there is war happening in Somalia. I’m happy to be in America, but I don’t want to forget my culture and my language. When people see me in Fort Morgan, maybe they think I’m on vacation but I am not.

Life of a loner

World full of pain
All life, all energy being drained
Look at your family
Happy when you're away
Disappointed in you everyday
Life of a loner isn't always best
Go through more pain than the rest
Put on a smile and put your feelings away
Learn about others but have no trust
Everyone else full of lust
I don't want that
I just want someone to want me back
Get pushed away and left behind
Life of a loner made me lose my mind

park

Sterling, Colorado has some of the nastiest drinking water around but also some of my favoritepeople: such as Trae, one of my closest friends from that time.That day was strange from the start. With the fight over religious expression and kids standing outside to pray at the flagpole, the day had a bit of an ominous start indeed. No one knew where Trae was.  His best friend was saying, “faggy two shoes probably killed himself.”During second hour, something strange happened: the voice of our principal, Bob Hall, came over the intercom:  “Remain in your classrooms.”  We had been there for at least an hour when everybody started making dark jokes about someone dying in the hallways.   Finally, Mr. Hall informed us Trae had committed suicide that morning at Columbine Park.Suddenly, I felt everything I had ever held to be true shatter to pieces and slip through my fingers like the sand of an hour glass.I was angry to the point of seeing red.  Eventually, I saw Trae’s best friend screaming and kicking but, most of all, crying his eyes out at the loss of his friend.  Even then, I wasn’t ready to forgive him. I wanted to pummel him. I’m glad I didn’t because if I had, I don’t think I would have learned that valuable lesson: everything we do is not only important, but also futile because nothing can be guaranteed. We cannot allow ourselves to be controlled by our worries for the future because only time will tell what it has in store for us.

family

I am from Guatemala. I am 16 years old and I like to play soccer. My dream is to finish high school, and later go to United States university, and study art or mechanics. I thank God for my family because they are all still alive even though Guatemala is a very dangerous country. I have been in the United States for a year. In truth it's been really good here at Fort Morgan High school, learning English. I never imagined that I would have learned English. I miss my father, he is still in Guatemala. I live with my uncle and my brother.The first days of school, I was nervous because I didn’t know where my classes were or how to make friends. But now, I feel good because I have more friends. Now, when I see new students, I help them because I know how scared they are because I was once there too. I like the school now but I miss Guatemala.

cargill

The day I started working at Cargill Beef Plant was  September 22, 2015.  When I turned 18 years old, I got my very first car which was a 2004 Pontiac GTO. Payments on it where $200.00 dollars and it being a sports car and me being a male, my car insurance came out to $220.00 dollars a month. So I was stuck with bills totaling $520.00 a month.  Could you believe that? So I filled out an application and I've been at Cargill for a year already--just because of a car.

I really do feel like I was forced to grow up so fast. I was barely eighteen working at a beef factory while still trying to graduate high school.Since I started at Cargill, I have made so many sacrifices it's not even funny.  I had no social life because when I wasn't at school,  I was at work in a big freezer throwing boxes on top of shelves all day.  I'm not talking about little boxes, I'm talking about heavy, huge boxes.

Cargill has always been known as a place where people that don't have an education end up. It is said that if you work at Cargill, you will never leave and never do something with your life. I promise myself that no matter how much money I make at Cargill, I will never stay there all my life.  I take the negative things people say about me and use it as motivation to prove them wrong.  One day I will own my own successful business where I will be  my own boss and work my own hours and take as many days off as I want.  Well, not too many because I'll lose customers.  But you get what I mean.


2015-2016

at the beach with sister

Growing up without a mom or dad for most of my life hasn't been easy. My dad passed away when I was seven, and my mother when I was twelve. I couldn't be more grateful though for the life that I've been given and the people who are apart of it. I know that everything happens for a reason, and I know that what I've been through has only made me stronger and has prepared me for what God has in store for me someday. I don't know how I would have been able to get through it though without my sister, on the left, who I owe so much to.

children from Uganda

Coming from Uganda all the way to the United States was hard for these children. One Sunday morning they happily made their way to the front of my church and sang their hearts out. Families would bring small gifts of food for them and they would just beam, the items we take for granted, they considered to be a blessing. They were a complete blessing to everyone in that church and especially a blessing to me.

fatheranddaughter

After a long day, my parents rest and study english on the app “Duolingo”, all I hear is, “Ding!...Ding!” from all the correct answers they get. They both have really tiring and long jobs, so they have no energy to go to school and learn English. “I get out very tired from work, I have to cook, to do things at home, and once I have free time I study a little bit”, my mom says the app is really helping her learn English, “If I pay attention then I’ll learn in a year, if not then no,” she giggles. I asked if either of them remembered an event from when they didn’t know how to speak any English, my dad responded with his improving English skills, “Yes I have one!”, “ I put a dollar in a soda machine and my dollar stayed, and I didn’t get my soda, and there was a lady and I told her, “Yo poner un dolaresion en macinasion y no salir occasion,” he thought those were English words and even though the lady did not understand him, he still got his dollar back. Seeing my parents putting in the effort to learn English, motivates me to put effort into my own work.

Mother and Daughter

My mom has always been my best friend and has always just been such a huge impact on my life. I will never forget my terrible years of Baker and Middle School. I wasn't the most popular or had that many friends. Actually I had none at all. I remember my mom just being by my side through it all and encouraging me that everything will be okay. I just remember getting bullied and not having anyone. I would just cry during school because I didn't have anyone. I can remember eating lunch in the office because I had no one to sit with in the cafeteria during lunch. I just had such horrible experiences during those years. Honestly, if she wasn't by my side through it all I have no idea where I would be in this world. Throughout my life she has been my inspiration and always will be. My mom is the strongest woman I know. She has the biggest heart! I’m forever grateful for having her as an amazing, beautiful mother.

Soccer players from Somalia

I'm a young boy who grew up in East Africa, Somalia. I loved my country more than anything else. I didn't leave my country because I didn't have freedom. I left my country because of war. So, my mom chose to explore and go to other countries that didn't have a war. My dream was one day to live in a country that doesn't have war and where I can get a good education. Today, I am living that dream.

Girl in her hijab

Why do I conceal my body and hair? Isn’t showing off my beauty and attracting others towards myself the norm? Has anyone ever seen my hair? What about on hot days, don’t I pass out when the sweltering heat accumulates all around my head? Has anyone ever seen my body or my hair? Oh no! How do I feel when I am wearing it?
Many people would ask themselves those questions. I, as a Muslim girl choose to wear the hijab or other covering clothes for many reasons. I wear it because of my beliefs and my culture. I wear a hijab because it means the whole world to me. I wear it and I feel like I am flying above the clouds. I might look unique from the other people for covering my body. But it is the most important thing in my life. I started wearing it when I was 3 years old, and I never forget nor get tired of it. It might seem little awkward to you, how I walk like this everyday, but I believe that if I don't wear it one day, it could be the worst day of my entire life. My hijab is my crown, my wealth, my beauty, my faith, and literally my whole life. I am a Muslim girl. I am living my peaceful life; I am always happy and confident. I choose to wear hijab. I choose to be treated as a human, just like everyone. I choose to wear hijab because I am free, I'll continue wearing it till I die.

bookworm

I read books in a day and destress with math. I stay involved yet separate as I run concessions instead of run. I dream of a world to explore and millions of places to get lost in. I am full of potential without a guiding arrow. I found God yet neither hide my faith or share it. I have been raised in the same small town yet I have ties to a smaller one (Mission, SD). The thought of staying in one place is confining, but it would mean roots. As inspirational speakers come into our poor town they suggest soaring with the eagles, as everyone else will drag you down. My friends are not the eagles we are told to soar with and yet they are not the vultures those eagles truly are. The vultures being the popular students who suck everything out of a person as they complain over their problems: never mind anyone else’s. My best friend is gay which should lead to complications in the Catholic belief but does not in mine. I plan to leave as soon as possible and yet the curse will probably pull my back in. I am the peliroja.

chearleaders

For twelve years I called Trinity Lutheran School my second home, my second family,and my safe place. In that school, I was blessed to learn about the Word of God every single day. I remember a lot of great things about Trinity: learning the state song, playing 4square every day,and having my dad as my teacher. Sadly, like all good things, my sheltered life at Trinity had to end, and I had to go off to high school.

The first day, I took a deep breath as my heart pounded out of my chest. I would've given anything to run back to my mom's blue mini van and just skip high school. As I walked through the doors I didn't realize that my life would change. I was in a whirlwind of new people; I can still remember the sound of lockers, the bell to dismiss us, and the roar of the cafeteria during lunch. Even though I was scared,  I made it through my very first day.

Now three years later, I've joined a ton of clubs like FBLA, and National Honor Society. I was in a number of musicals and plays, combined league honor choir, singers, and I play tennis. I was selected for homecoming royalty.  I have volunteered my time as part of Rise Above Colorado and as 4-H district officer.

Since I was that little innocent, naive freshman three years ago I have had my ups and downs, but if I was to look back, I am very proud of how I have grown and changed as a person. It took me coming out of my shell and making my own way at FMHS to discover that I could do this. All I had to do was take a deep breath and walk through that door.


girl on horse

We all dream of riches, but we all have a dream we hope someday will happen. 2016 is the year that I went from having a dream to making it real. As I got off the truck stood there. In front of me I had one of the most beautiful creatures to ever live. I didn’t know what to say full of fear and excitement I started to ride. As we started going all you could see was the plains. We rode a mile down as you could hear the cars down the highway and the wind rushing through your hair. Peace and fun was all to head back to the truck we saw life was complete. Dreams come true even if you’re not expecting them to. Although my actual dream is to go to Brazil I hope one day that dream will come true as well. Just how my horse back riding dream came true.

dirt

 

March 13th was the day that my life changed forever. I was ten-years-old, a young, eager kid ready to spend the day with his dad. Even better yet, it was the final stretch of winter and the ground in the countryside was finally starting to warm up. The Weldon ditch (or irrigation canal) was first coming in for the season and drawing from the river. However, that was also the day that changed my life forever. A day with dad obviously came with a little work. The ditch was coming in and the underground flume (or “siphon,” as we call it) was backed clear up, full of tumbleweeds and other debris. We took the backhoe over and for the most part got it unplugged. The rest of the work required pitchforks. And that was the moment when it pulled me in. The water was a bone-chilling forty degrees fahrenheit. Ninety-yards later, I emerged from underground with nothing but the jeans on my legs. That near-death experience changed my life forever.

brothers

I am seventeen years old and I was born in El Salvador.
My family is important because they are always there to support me. I love to go to School because I learn English and communicate with other people. English can be difficult because some people don't understand me and it makes it hard to communicate with them. I am thankful for learning how to read, write, and comprehend English. My dream is to graduated from high school and go to college, I would like to study to become an engineer.

 

boy in snow

I am fifteen years old, and I am going to tell you my story: I was born in a small town in Honduras. I really miss Honduras because my country is very beautiful, humble, and calm. I am also form Nicaragua, because my mom was born in Nicaragua, and I lived there for one year. But my heart is in Honduras and I feel proud of it. I came here six months ago and everything for me was really hard because I did not know any English and I did not have any friends. The hardest thing is that I really miss my family. They are really important for me because they taught me to respect people and always be nice, I am so thankful to God for every single one of the opportunities that he gave me and for new opportunities that he is giving me right now. Learning a new language is very important. I am putting all my effort to learn more everyday, and I know that my family is proud of me.

girl and dad

My dad has to be my biggest role model. My dad and I have a really good relationship. I constantly find myself helping him out around the house even when I don't want to. He has most definitely inspired me to be who I am. Everyday is a bonding experience with him. Without him, I wouldn't be where I am, or who I am. When my dad was is high school, he was very involved in FFA and 4-H. Now that I am in high school, I am very involved in FFA and 4-H. My dad was the president of FFA his senior year and my junior year, I was president of FFA. I'm definitely falling in his footsteps. My dad and I also think alike. I've spent so much time with him that we practically have the same opinion on most things in the world. My dad is the biggest goofball in the world. He knows how to make me laugh when I am down or just on any day in general. Not a day goes by that I would ask for a better dad or role model in my life.

girl

My family and I are originally Somali but I was born and raised in Ethiopia. My parents left Somalia because of war, not because of hunger or poverty. The war is very violent in Somalia and they came to Ethiopia because they wanted peace. We lived in Ethiopia my whole life. I came to United States in April 2016. I came here because I wanted to live a better life. I came here because I wanted to have an education and to get my dreams. I came here because my country does not have peace. America and Somalia are different because America has peace and I get a better life here. America has very good education and teachers. The first day of school I felt fear because there were a lot of new people, new information, and a new language. Today, I know a lot of people. I know people from Somalia, the United States, and Latinos from many countries. I feel a lot better now because I understand the rules and everything. At first the rules in the United States were confusing, but many people helped me learn them and now I am living in my dream. And I am so happy.

girl

When I came to the United States, the first school I went to was a school in Tennessee for 7th grade. I was young and the first day I went to school, I was shy and I didn’t know how to speak English and I didn’t have any friends to talk to. The problem was I only knew my language, Somali, but we weren’t allowed to speak different languages, we had to speak English. If the students hear you when you speak a different language, they would tell the teacher and we would get in trouble, and we had to use five minutes of play time and you don’t get to play that day if you speak your language. Fort Morgan High School is different because we are allowed to speak our languages, but we also are still learning English. It is important that I continue to speak and learn my language because that is how I talk to my mom and family.

school

I am fifteen years old, I live in Fort Morgan, Colorado and I moved here about one year ago.I was born in Las Vegas, Nevada but I grew up in Mexico.My family moved to U.S.A. to make something important for their lives, but they also came for the better opportunities, the opportunity to work, to study, to live, to be free. When they brought me here to Fort Morgan I didn't understand why. We had already left the U.S. before, but with the time I knew I would understand why. I knew that they know what was better for us and for me, they saw a great opportunity and they took it.An opportunity is not something you can buy, and it’s not something you can get easily. An opportunity is a chance to change who you are and the things you do. But an opportunity just happens one time and it is up to us, if we will take it, and if it’s going to help us or not. In my opinion, if you don't have the attitude to take the risk and take the opportunity, you’re not going to get anywhere. For me to move to Colorado means losing a house, losing friends, and losing my family. But I have gained more than I lost. I now have the opportunity to get a better education, a better life, to meet more people, to get new experiences, and to move from a big place to a small place. Yes, it can be hard. But if you have the attitude, you can change your whole life.

school

I like my life because I am a very good person and I like to talk with other people. In my family I have two sisters and two brothers and a father and a mother. My older sister is twenty-four years old, my older brother is sixteen years old and my younger sister is thirteen years old. I like being with my family because when I am with them I feel very happy. I like to watch Real Madrid and I love to play soccer. I am originally from Guatemala, and I remember my first day in the United States I was so scared. But the more time I spend here in Fort Morgan, the more I realize that there are a lot of things that are the same between me and other people I meet. I am happy to see that because for a long time I thought everybody would be so different from me. This picture is from our first day in the United States. We were all very scared but very excited to finally be in the United States.

school

I wants to talk about his country and his life and I want to talk about what is different between USA and my country Somalia. I was born in Ethiopia, but my country is Somalia, because my parents went to Ethiopia because Somalia was in a war. My family and I were refugees in Ethiopia. Then I came to the USA when I was fourteen years old. When I moved here I saw what is different between my country and the United States. Even though I am living in a different country, I don’t have change my language and my culture. I get to keep my own culture, but I also get to learn about other cultures and it is very interesting and exciting for me. I enjoy learning about people who are different from me. One day, I want to graduate from Fort Morgan High School then I want to go back to my country. I will tell the people in my country what a beautiful country I have the chance to live in and I will tell them to always follow their dreams. In Ethiopia I will see all of my friends and then I will come back to the United States so I can go to college and continue my education.

flowers

I’m sixteen years old, and I was born in Guatemala. When I was two years old my dad died, so my mom had to move forward because she had a family to care for.She moved to the United States while my siblings and I stayed in Guatemala with my grandparents. When I was living in Guatemala with my grandparents, I missed my mother and wanted to be with her. Now, I miss Guatemala and my grandparents, but I know my grandparents will always be like my second parents. I have learned that I can find happiness anywhere I live.
I moved to the U.S. one year ago when my siblings and I came to live with my mom. Moving here gave me many difficulties, but also many opportunities because my country is very different and I am not accustomed to living here. I admire my mom. I know everything she does is to make our lives better. Right now, school is difficult for me because I am still learning English, but I am always moving forward.

cheer

“5, 6, 7, 8…” The practice music began to play, and we were only minutes away from performing at our league meet. “Stay tight, Jasmine!” I shouted to my flyer as I looked up at her five feet above me. We began with unquestionably the most advanced stunt in the whole routine, one of which had taken my stunt group and I months to perfect. All of a sudden I heard an agonizing, “Ouch!” and looked over to see one of my teammates lying on the floor grasping her knee. The music stopped, and I knew right then that she wouldn’t be able to compete with us. Initial panic fell over the room until the rest of my team and I pulled ourselves together. Our time was limited, so we frantically began adjusting every aspect of the routine in effort to pull it off with one less girl. Because none of us gave up, my team and I ended up receiving third place. I left my heart and soul on the mats that day am honored to be a member of the Fort Morgan High School cheerleading squad.

girl and dad

“Mom, wake up! I’m hungry.” I said to my mother, Amy. It was noon, and I still hadn’t been able to eat. Being only seven, I could not cook my own food. This was the normal routine. Mom would wake up, get ready for work, then leave. I wouldn’t see her until the next day. Although my mother wasn’t always there for me,  a short, stubby and beautiful young woman was. Her name was Ash and she made a big impact. She played with me, helped me with my homework, and made us food like cream cheese with bacon bits on top. “This stays between us,”  Ash said. We sat on the kitchen floor laughing and eating this odd food.” Eventually Dad took me away from Amy.  Even though we travelled for so many days in a tiny, cramped car, slept in hotel rooms, campers, and even the houses my dad was constructing, it was the best adventure and the happiest time of my life. After a while Dad found a woman with four kids to settle down with in Holyoke.  I thought that’d be pretty fun, but I was wrong.  After a while, I knew Dad wasn’t happy anymore. I knew this “family” was spinning out of control. Dad made the decision to reunite with a woman he still loved, and we moved to Fort Morgan in 2010 to make a new family. It was the best choice Dad ever made for us. I am a senior in high school, and although it is a bit scary and can be tough, I am proud of myself and my Dad for making it this far together in life. I am ready for anything life will throw at me, because it’s just another adventure to show me who I am.

 

photo

The things you notice
Flushed rosy cheeks
Icy blue eyes that tell a different story
Goes to church every Sunday
Blends in with the crowd
Faking it
Tries to fulfill the misguided fantasies of the people close to him
Tries not to disappoint
Closed-minded town is all he knows
He dies inside
A little more everyday
Afraid
Afraid they would never fully accept him
Feels he let them down
He is still afraid to be himself
That day the rusted bars on the cage
Finally creak open
Relief
Someone taught him to not feel ashamed
To love himself
He is strong
He is unique
He is loved

selfie

I came to you when I was lost in the dark.
Gave you all my secrets.
Asked you to guard them with your life.
Stupidly thinking we were going to spend the rest of our lives together.
Do you know what the worst part was?

You made sure I’d be too broken to love anyone else.
You made sure I knew about your new girl.
As if breaking my heart wasn’t enough.

So who am I?
I am the woman that will never stop dreaming.
I am the woman that will never stop believing.
I am the woman who will never stop caring.

 

McDonalds

Manager, large with imposing
Yet soft to the eyes
Listen to yearning
Don't shift
Don't cause trouble
Don't make ripples
Speak what others want
Actions will be taken
Town has nothing more
Have traveled to its end
Must wake up
Dreams don't offer truth
Only want to know how to be saved

tape

I was born in El Salvador. When I was 4 years old my dad left the country to come to the United States, and since that day my life changed completely. Many hard things have happened in my life. I didn’t talk to my father very often and I felt alone. 10 years later he told me to come to Fort Morgan to live with him and I didn’t think twice about it because I was so happy and excited to meet him.But when I came here I realized that things are not always as one would imagine them. Even if you think something might make you really happy, it doesn’t always turn out that way. The love and trust after so many years is over and nothing is the same, but here I am now trying to not give up because I know that one day everything will change and things will get better.If I could give someone advice, it would be to cherish your parents and family, because some people don’t have any.

rock

One of a Kind
Striving for greatness
Wanting to be the best she can be even with all the negativity around her
Finds a way to shine in the darkest places
Part of a small town with so many opportunities not being there
Going out of her way and find the slightest crack in a close space to get out
Having the support of her brother gives her hope
Being taught to earn everything she has and taking nothing for granted
Making the best out every chance she has
Mentality always set to find a way
Sports keep her on track
She does what it takes to make sure she’s playing at her best
Always trying to set a name for herself on and off the court
Following in her brother’s footsteps
Being one of the twins
There is a lot of things they have in common
But the drive she has sets her apart
That way she will always be one of a kind

Bike

I am 17 years old and I am from Guatemala. I'm going to tell you about my trip to United States. I was born in Guatemala because my dad and my mom are from Guatemala also the first 16 years I lived with them in Guatemala. But to improve my lifestyle and I also wanted to know about the United States, so I decided to take a trip and that trip was to the U.S. I came on a bus by myself. It took me forty days to get to Fort Morgan, Colorado because I stayed in a detention center in Arizona. My life in my homeland was great, but I was looking for more work and I wanted to finish high school. I was excited to come to America because my dream was about to begin, but at the same I time I was sad because I was going to leave my family. My family is made up ten people so it is difficult to leave my family. It was also painful for me as my dad my mom and my brothers were crying, but they saw that I had to leave. Since I have been in Fort Morgan, I’m very happy to be living with my brother, going to Fort Morgan High School, and working.

Chair

 

As the 2015 football season came to an end we had our annual football award banquet atAmerican Legion Hall with the team, family and friends. These banquets are always memorable. As our head football coach Harrison Chisum started announcing the names ofplayers, people clapped and congratulated players on their accomplishments.When we got to the All-Conference part, my coach took a special moment toreally give the guys who earned the award a moment in the spotlight. I was confident I would be named. But as he finished calling player’s names,  my name had not been not said. In shock I kept quiet. Then Coach said, “Now time for Honorable Mention for All-Conference.First-up Dalyn Knapp.” People clapped and whistled as I walked up and received my awardwith my chin held high.  I shook my coach’s hand and sat back down. After the banquet, my coach pulled me aside with grace and a laid beefy his hand on myshoulder.  With his scruffy beard and his broad shoulder posture he told me, “You were one vote away from being named All-Conference.” Those words from Coach Chisum that would not settle in my head:  one vote away from All-Conference. I felt the blood boil through my veins and the determination instantly settle in. I made myself a promise, that not only would I get All-Conference, but would go for  All-State.While football season ended for others, it did not end for me. My goal was to get bigger, faster,and stronger. Day and night I pushed myself to wake up at the crack of dawn, practice inthe blazing heat, and work on my footwork and coordination.No matter the obstacle, I would overcome it.



2015-2016

daughter and father

As many may already know, I'm one of a very few who grew up with a father, but no mother by my side. When I was younger my parents divorced and my mom decided she wanted to move far from here. My dad took full custody of me and ever since then it's just been him and I. Things haven't been easy. My father struggled, I was young, needed a mother to be there for me and teach me girl things. Although my dad struggled he never gave up. There were days that I felt devastated because my mom was so far away and it wasn't easy for my dad to raise me. He didn't know how to properly do my hair for school, or how to match my clothes. He learned, we learned. Although there has been many hardships growing up without a mom, I give thanks to my wonderful father for raising me and making me into the young woman I am today. It has made me realize that there are things worth fighting for, like he did for me. He is and always will be my hero and greatest inspiration.

Barillas, Central America

When I was in 8th grade I visited my parents home town, Barillas, located in Central America. Life in Barillas is very different from the United States. There are only dirt roads and it rains all the time, which makes the roads dangerous.  I visited my grandparents and their house was pretty small. It consisted of a kitchen, bathroom, and two very small rooms. During the night it was very cold and I had to sleep on the floor because they didn’t have any beds. The utilities were not very durable and efficient. Sometimes the lights would go out while we were in the bathroom, and we had no hot water to use. There was little transportation available in Barillas. If you did not have the money to pay, you would have to walk. People with money could pay for transportation in a small van, but it was always too crowded. Visiting my parents’ home town made me appreciate all the things I have and I will always be grateful towards my parents for providing me with all my necessities and more.

Person

I hate America. But at the same time, I love America. When I start thinking about my friends, I feel like I just want to go back to Africa. But I know I have a great opportunity for education here in America. My first time I went to school, it was hard for me to speak English because I didn't know the language. Some people made fun of me because I didn't know how to speak English. Never make fun of someone who speaks broken English. It means they know another language.

person who immigrated here

I closed my eyes as we crossed the border, trying to avoid getting nostalgic and thinking about all the people that I would not see again for years. I didn’t leave my country because I didn’t love it, I left it because it hurt to love it. In a world in which corruption and delinquency come in a variety of forms and are looked at differently, people’s ideas of Mexico are usually the same, and they’re not completely wrong. I lived in that country for 15 years, from the day I was born until the day I left in 2013, and I’ve never felt so free. America sure isn’t freedom at its best, but when people come from a country where expressing themselves can get them in trouble, they’ll know they were never free before. Since the moment my family and I crossed the border, I escaped from fear. I felt the weight that was always on my chest leave me, and I could finally breathe deeply without feeling my nerves tighten up.

person shaped by his sorroundings


I was born and raised in this town. I have worked on my family farm for my entire life. My father has taught me the difference between a job-well-done and a job-done-poorly. My sophomore summer I got my CNA license. The farm life and the the CNA job have shaped me into the person I am today. Most importantly it has showed me what I want to do with my life. I currently want to pursue a nursing degree. I want to pursue this degree because I want to help people. I have both of my parents to thank for this.

uncle
I have an uncle who was born with muscular dystrophy. He has to deal with excruciating pain every single day for 365 days a year, and he is 45 years old. The weird thing is that we have no history of it in my family. The cause for him developing the disease is that my grandfather was exposed to Agent Orange that was used in the Vietnam War, but was also used in the Korean War, which was the war that my grandfather participated in. His job was to fix communication lines so everyone was in contact with each other. Somehow he came in contact with the substance.

outside


I am a label. I’m a guy, smart, kind, caring, fat, nerdy, and weird. I am my labels, they define me. I’m a small town guy that lives a big life. Clubs, activities, and volunteering takes over my life. They reward me with the opportunities to teach the next generation music. Music that gives me joy, and provides one of my futures. A son of two nurses defines where I’m going. It determines that medicine will be my future. Helping the sick and weak to get better, a selfless life that is rewarding. However now life is lived in secret, behind closed doors. It’s whispering that doesn’t stop. Things that shouldn’t be talked about lie underneath the surface. People stare and point, but they know. I’ve overcome this and lived more than they can. I overcome what happened and I am better for it.