Academic Center for English Language Studies (ACES) students poured their thoughts into a series of narrative essays, published in the program’s annual reader, titled “Falling Sky.”
Through the essays in the ninth annual ACES Reader, the cohort of SJC Brooklyn freshmen share stories from their childhoods, the triumphs of immigrating to a new country, and handling relationships with friends and family.
Khine Phyu, an ACES student who graduated from the College last week, said the collection of essays was moving.
“As I go through each of your stories, I can’t help but take notice of how similar we are yet so different,” Phyu wrote in the reader’s foreword. “Our sisters, brothers, mothers, fathers, friends, and teachers have shaped us into who we are today. At some point in our lives, we all go out to the wild places, stand under the sky, look up at the moon and the stars, and search for our answers.
“Personally, I have looked up at the sky and asked if it could cry with me on days that I felt lost or scared of the unknown journey,” she continued. “It is such a relief to know that through our friends, peers, and mentors, we all have found answers in our falling skies.”
Phyu read the forward aloud May 15 during the annual reader launch event to the students whose work was published in the book. Students, faculty, staff and administrators from the College attended the Zoom book launch.
Celebrating the Published Students
The published freshmen took turns reading an excerpt from their essays to listeners during the event.
Class of 2020 Valedictorian Amarfi Collado closed the book launch with words of encouragement for the underclassmen, reflecting on her four years in the program.
“Congratulations on completing your first year at the ACES Program, where you feel like you’re back in high school highlighting and making notes,” said Collado, reading from the afterward she wrote in the reader. “At the same time, you have just finished what I like to call ‘becoming an independent student.’
“You start to become independent by making the right choice of which word or phrase to eliminate from an essay to make it three pages instead of seven,” she continued. “You got accepted to SJC, but you also got accepted into a unique group that will give you the necessary resources to thrive. Among those, time-management and the beauty of practice to become a master in the writing process.”
The following freshmen students wrote essays in the reader:
Puja Khadka, Tooba Khalid, Zaryab Khan, Ramiz Khudoyorov, Adailed Marshall, Victoria Romão Nóbrega, Cecile Maxi, Sally Diallo, Coumba Bah, Marco Kushta and Luis Angel Reyes.
Read the ninth annual ACES Reader here.