Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Neighborhood Student Discusses Life on Grandville Avenue

Neighborhood Student Discusses Life on Grandville Avenue 

One of GAAH's neighborhood sixth graders discusses her life as a student at the Potter’s House School and Grandville Avenue Arts & Humanities at both the Cook Library Center and the Cook Arts Center.

Giselle, Age 13

Giselle is definitely not your average sixth grader in America. Giselle is an identical twin sister in her immediate family of six. Her twin sister's name is Ailyn. Not only that, but her oldest sister Kenia is special needs, with Prader-Willi Syndrome, and although she was born here, her parents are immigrants from Mexico City. In addition, “My family has twelve sets of twins,” she said. That’s right: she also belongs to an even more substantial family that claims a grand total of twenty-four individuals that can call themselves a twin. To top it all off, Giselle comes out of this situation as an incredibly bright, kind, gentle-spirited girl who truly cherishes her life in the Grandville Avenue neighborhood.

When approached, Giselle was eager and enthusiastic to eloquently speak about her life at the Potter’s House School, at the Cook Arts Center, and at the Cook Library Center. Her favorite food is lasagna, her prized color is green, her preferred sport is soccer, and the most important topic of discussion for her seems to be reading. Tablet in hand, she carefully detailed every single book that she adored, including Tuck Everlasting. "It’s sad and mysterious,” she articulated. “It tells the story in a detailed way which is just breathtaking.” Other favorites include The Tale of Emily Windsnap and Tip Face Bunyan.

Giselle was also compelled to talk about her relationship to her family, in particular her sister. “I am always watching after my little sister to make sure that she is not being bad. Nadia does not pay attention. I have to make sure she’s doing her homework and paying attention.  I need to make sure that she doesn’t wander,” she said.

Interestingly enough, the combination of her love for books and her extra-large family is why she loves the Cook Library Center so much. “At home, it’s not comfortable. My sisters and brothers are all there, and there is nowhere to sit. The table is always crowded. There’s no work space.” So instead, she spends many of her evenings at the Cook Library Center. Homework help, an array of materials to borrow, and computer work stations allow her to have a comfortable, quiet place to work. “There is no internet at home, which means I can’t use my tablet,” she said. “At the library, there is a computer where I can type my projects.” Plus, the myriad of library staff, tutors, and friends allows Giselle to ask for help virtually any time that she is there. “I feel close to Miss Sue. (Sue Garza, Cook Library Center Director) She is very helpful. If I’m stuck on a problem, she can help me. If she’s too busy, she can make sure someone else is there to help,” she asserted.

So what does a normal week look like to this 13-year-old Grandville Avenue resident? It’s actually quite impressive. She detailed her week as follows:

Monday through Friday, during normal school hours, Giselle takes classes at Potter’s House School. Then, on Mondays, she has a moment to return home to say hello to her father, have a snack, and then return to the Cook Library Center from 4:30-6:30pm to work on homework.

After school on Tuesday, Giselle enjoys a photography class at the Cook Arts Center from 4:30-5:30pm, and then works with her tutor, who travels to the center from 6:30-7:30pm. This particular tutor is one that she speaks highly of. She even was preparing a gift for her the day that I spoke with her. “She really helped out with my grades,” she declared, “I got her a big beautiful coffee mug, a sparkly bag, and an angel.”  

On Wednesdays, Giselle has a half-day at Potter’s House. Then, she is allowed to take extra classes, including technology and band, where she learns how to type and play the trumpet. She is home by 2pm, only to return to the Cook Arts Center at 4:30pm to work in Intermediate Potter’s Wheel, which is another activity that she was thrilled to talk about in depth. “You have to make sure that you have the right pedal speed, and hold your hands really hard, making sure they’re centered. You have to make sure the top isn’t wiggly, and then open it up,” she continued, beaming. “I started doing pottery when I was 6 ½ years old. I thought, ‘Oh, I can’t do this!’ But, I have gotten better.” After Potter’s Wheel, she volunteers to help with the very young children’s clay class, charmingly named Crazy Clay, from 5:30-6:30pm. Contradictory to what the title suggests, Giselle helps to keep the situation fairly calm. “I pass out clay, get the tools, help them put their aprons on, help put things away, help them wash their hands, and put their pieces on the shelves.” To top it all off, Giselle takes a sewing class from 6:30-8pm on Wednesday evening. “I like to stay busy,” she expressed.

Thursday after school, Giselle takes crocheting at 4:30pm. Then, she volunteers to help in Plaster and Play-Doh. Her tutor then returns to the Cook Arts Center from 6:30-7:30pm. And Fridays, Giselle has soccer practice from 5:30-7:30pm after her normal school day.

This demanding schedule does not phase Giselle one bit, in fact, she deeply enjoys her experiences at Grandville Avenue Arts & Humanities facilities. And after all is said and done, this bright girl is always looking toward the future and her connection with these spaces. When asked about continuing her involvement and life at the Cook Library Center and the Cook Arts Center, she responded with, “I would like to come back to either teach or be a secretary. Once, Miss Bethany had a meeting, and asked me to be in charge of the phone. I answered the phone and made sure that the calls were put on hold.” Finally, and most poignantly, she expressed, “Most people here get along. Everyone that comes to the center has fun, and we make everything work. Everyone works very hard to keep this place nice… I just hope that I can keep coming for many years to come.”

1 comment:

  1. Louise "Punky" EdisonJune 3, 2014 at 6:48 PM

    A delightful profile of a delightful girl.