Mr. Fornnarino's English 2, Semester 1 Final


       by Julia Álvarez


Our first year in New York we rented a small apartment with a Catholic school nearby, taught by the Sisters of Charity, hefty women in long black gowns and bonnets that made them look peculiar, like dolls in mourning. I liked them a lot, especially my grandmotherly fourth grade teacher, Sister Zoe. I had a lovely name, she said, and she had me teach the whole class how to pronounce it. Yo-lan-da. As the only immigrant in my class, I was put in a special seat in the first row by the window, apart from the other children so that Sister Zoe could tutor me without disturbing them. Slowly, she enunciated the new words I was to repeat: laundromat, cornflakes, subway, snow.


Soon I picked up enough English to understand holocaust was in the air. Sister Zoe explained to a wide eyed classroom what was happening in Cuba. Russian missiles were being assembled, trained supposedly on New York City. President Kennedy, looking worried too, was on the television at home, explaining we might have to go to war against the Communists. At school, we had air raid drills: an ominous bell would go off and we'd file into the hall, fall to the floor, cover our heads with our coats, and imagine our hair falling out, the bones in our arms going soft. At home, Mami and my sisters and I said a rosary for world peace. I heard new vocabulary: nuclear bomb, radioactive fallout, bomb shelter. Sister Zoe explained how it would happen. She drew a picture of a mushroom on the blackboard and dotted a flurry of chalk marks for the dusty fallout that would kill us all.


The months grew cold, November, December. It was dark when I got up in the morning, frosty when I followed my breath to school. One morning as I sat at my desk daydreaming out the window, I saw dots in the air like the ones Sister Zoe had drawn random at first, then lots and lots. I shrieked, “Bomb! Bomb!” Sister Zoe jerked around, her full black skirt ballooning as she hurried to my side. A few girls began to cry.


But then Sister Zoe's shocked look faded. “Why, Yolanda dear, that's snow!” She laughed. “Snow.”


“Snow,” I repeated. I looked out the window warily. All my life I had heard about the white crystals that fell out of American skies in the winter. From my desk I watched the fine powder dust the sidewalk and parked cars below. Each flake was different, Sister Zoe had said, like a person, irreplaceable and beautiful.




















































































Excerpt from The Namesake
       by Jhumpa Lahiri

At this part of the novel, Gogol and his family return from a trip to his parent’s homeland of Calcutta, India, where they have spent eight months visiting their family.

Within twenty-four hours he and his family are back on Pemberton Road, the late August grass in need of trimming, a quart of milk and some bread left by their tenants in the refrigerator, four grocery bags on the staircase filled with mail. At first the Gangulis sleep most of the day and are wide awake at night, gorging themselves on toast at three in the morning, unpacking the suitcases one by one. Though they are home they are disconcerted by the space, by the uncompromising silence that surrounds them. They still feel somehow in transit, still disconnected from their lives, bound up in an alternate schedule, an intimacy only the four of them share. But by the end of the week, after his mother’s friends come to admire her new gold and saris, after the eight suitcases have been aired out on the sun deck and put away, after the chanachur is poured into Tupperware and the smuggled mangoes eaten for breakfast with cereal and tea, it’s as if they’ve never been gone. “How dark you’ve become,” his parents’ friends say regretfully to Gogol and Sonia. On this end, there is no effort involved. They retreat to their three rooms, to their three separate beds, to their thick mattresses and pillows and fitted sheets. After a single trip to the supermarket, the refrigerator and the cupboards fill with familiar labels: Skippy, Hood, Bumble Bee, Land O’ Lakes. His mother enters the kitchen and prepares their meals once again; his father drives the car and mows the lawn and returns to the university. Gogol and Sonia sleep for as long as they want, watch television, make themselves peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at any time of day. Once again they are free to quarrel, to tease each other, to shout and holler and say shut up. They take hot showers, speak to each other in English, ride their bicycles around the neighborhood. They call up their American friends, who are happy enough to see them but ask them nothing about where they’ve been. And so the eight months are put behind them, quickly shed, quickly forgotten, like clothes worn for a special occasion, or for a season that has passed, suddenly cumbersome, irrelevant to their lives.
























































































































Saving Our Vanishing Heritage

The following passage is the foreword of a report from the Global Heritage Fund, an international conservancy whose mission is to protect, preserve, and sustain the most significant and endangered cultural heritage sites in the developing world.

Saving Our Vanishing Heritage explores the challenges facing our most significant and endangered archaeological and heritage sites in the developing world—and what we can do to save them—before they are lost forever.

Our focus on the developing world is driven by the large number of important cultural heritage sites which exist in regions with little capacity to safeguard their existence. In the first decade of the 21st century, we have lost or seriously impaired hundreds of our most precious historic sites—the physical record of our human civilization.

Vanishing surveys over 500 global heritage sites and highlights the accelerating threats facing these cultural treasures. Many have survived thousands of years, only to be lost in this generation—on our watch.

With the critical review of 24 leading experts working in heritage conservation and international development, this report surveys hundreds of endangered global heritage sites and strives to identify those most in need of immediate intervention, and what the global community can do to save them.

Our primary goals of this report are:

to raise critically needed global awareness
to identify innovative technologies and solutions
to increase funding through private-public partnerships
Vanishing’s findings strongly suggest that the demise of our most significant cultural heritage sites has become a global crisis, on par with environmental destruction.

GHF surveyed over 1,600 accounts published between 2000 and 2009 concerning the state of conservation of hundreds of major sites in the developing world.

In this report, GHF considered sites with the highest potential for responsible development critical for the sustained preservation of the site. GHF considers the scientific conservation of a site and its potential for responsible development during our design and planning process resulting in an integrated master plan and strategy that goes well beyond traditional monument based approaches to preservation. This report represents the first attempt to quantify the value of heritage sites as global economic resources to help achieve the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Vanishing focuses on significant global heritage sites that have high potential for future tourism and responsible development, but the report’s findings and recommendations can and should be extended to other realms of heritage preservation. Global heritage sites generate extremely high economic asset values, with some worth billions of dollars a year. These sites can help to greatly diversify local economies beyond tourism and sustenance agriculture reducing dependency and alleviating poverty.

Vanishing begins a global campaign to save the most important and endangered heritage sites in the developing world.

How we as a global community act—or fail to act—in the coming years will determine if we save our global heritage and can realize the untapped economic opportunity these precious sites offer for global development in the world's lowest-income communities and countries.























Saving Vanishing “Tongues”
     by Stephen Ornes

Press “record” to pause extinction

Many languages disappear every year. In a race against time, language researchers are using digital technology to preserve those tongues from extinction.

Linguists and other scientists record, share and study dwindling tongues so the value of the language won’t be lost. These researchers use modern technology, including voice recorders, MP3 players, computer software and online dictionaries, to preserve words and sounds that would otherwise vanish.

“We can’t always stop [language extinction] from happening, but we can make recordings of a language for future studies,” says Steven Bird. A computer scientist at the University of Melbourne in Australia, he develops software for recording languages. “People can preserve these languages now, while there’s still time,” he says.

Documenting a language before it goes quiet isn’t just an effort to preserve history. Linguists also can study the particular sounds, words and structure of a language to better understand how it is related to others. For instance, understanding how the English language’s roots lie in ancient Germanic tells a story about human history.

Languages also can provide unique insights into a place. For example, a native tribe may have lived in one remote region for thousands of years. That means its members know their natural surroundings better than anyone else. Their language may contain terms that reflect special knowledge about the local landscape, its plants and its animals, Harrison points out. This can aid scientists who want to study ecosystems near to where the language is spoken.

But Harrison sees his job as more than just aiding science. He appreciates helping members of these threatened cultures preserve part of their heritage. Many young people, he says, want to remember their own history—even as they engage with the rest of the world.

“I come across many people in their teens and early 20s who want to keep their heritage language because they value it,” he says. “They’re saying, ‘Hey, our language is important to us. If we lose it, we lose our identity.’”

Margaret Noodin can relate to that. She’s a linguist at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee. Growing up in Minnesota during the 1970s, she occasionally heard members of her family speaking Anishinaabemowin (Ah-neesh-ee-nah-beh-MO-win). It’s the language of the Ojibwe (Oh-JIB-way) Native American people.

Back then, speaking her tribe’s language was a risky move. That's because the U.S. government had forbidden Native American tribes from practicing many of their customs, including some parts of religious ceremonies. That ban extended to their native languages.

“It didn’t count as a language in many ways, since it was illegal to teach and publish,” Noodin says.

Forty years ago, the American Indian Religious Freedom Act became law. It was followed, 12 years later, by the Native American Languages Act. These changed government attitudes. With these laws, the United States now recognized Native American cultural practices as valuable. And it again legalized the teaching and publishing of Native American languages.

That policy inspired a generation of people to preserve tribal heritage. Growing up in an environment where her language had been forbidden left a big mark on Noodin. She has spent decades since then studying the endangered language of her family. She also is working with other Native American tribes to preserve theirs.











































































































 "Something Could Happen to You"

          From Almost a Woman, a memoir, by Esmeralda Santiago

The day we arrived, a hot, humid afternoon had splintered into thunderstorms as the last rays of the sun dipped into the rest of the United States. I was thirteen and superstitious enough to believe thunder and lightning held significance beyond the meteorological. I stored the sights and sounds of that dreary night into memory as if their meaning would someday be revealed in a flash of insight to transform my life forever. When the insight came, nothing changed, for it wasn’t the weather in Brooklyn that was important, but the fact that I was there to notice it.

One hand tightly grasped by Mami, the other by six-year-old Edna, we squeezed and pushed our way through the crowd of travelers. Five-year-old Raymond clung to Mami’s other hand, his unbalanced gait drawing sympathetic smiles from people who moved aside to let us walk ahead of them.

At the end of the tunnel waited Tata, Mami’s mother, in black lace and high heels, a pronged rhinestone pin on her left shoulder. When she hugged me, the pin pricked my cheek, pierced subtle flower-shaped indentations that I rubbed rhythmically as our taxi hurtled through drenched streets banked by high, angular buildings.

New York was darker than I expected, and, in spite of the cleansing rain, dirtier. Used to the sensual curves of rural Puerto Rico, my eyes had to adjust to the regular, aggressive two-dimensionality of Brooklyn. Raindrops pounded the hard streets, captured the dim silver glow of street lamps, bounced against sidewalks in glistening sparks, then disappeared, like tiny ephemeral jewels, into the darkness. Mami and Tata teased that I was disillusioned because the streets were not paved with gold. But I had no such vision of New York. I was disappointed by the darkness and fixed my hopes on the promise of light deep within the sparkling raindrops.

Two days later, I leaned against the wall of our apartment building on McKibbin Street wondering where New York ended and the rest of the world began. It was hard to tell. There was no horizon in Brooklyn. Everywhere I looked, my eyes met a vertical maze of gray and brown straight-edged buildings with sharp corners and deep shadows. Every few blocks there was a cement playground surrounded by chain-link fence. And in between, weedy lots mounded with garbage and rusting cars.

A girl came out of the building next door, a jump rope in her hand. She appraised me shyly; I pretended to ignore her. She stepped on the rope, stretched the ends overhead as if to measure their length, and then began to skip, slowly, grunting each time she came down on the sidewalk. Swish splat grunt swish, she turned her back to me; swish splat grunt swish, she faced me again and smiled. I smiled back, and she hopped over.

“¿Tú eres hispana?” she asked, as she whirled the rope in lazy arcs.

“No, I’m Puerto Rican.”

“Same thing. Puerto Rican, Hispanic. That’s what we are here.” She skipped a tight circle, stopped abruptly, and shoved the rope in my direction. “Want a turn?”

“Sure.” I hopped on one leg, then the other. “So, if you’re Puerto Rican, they call you Hispanic?”

“Yeah. Anybody who speaks Spanish.”

I jumped a circle, as she had done, but faster. “You mean, if you speak Spanish, you’re Hispanic?”

“Well, yeah. No … I mean your parents have to be Puerto Rican or Cuban or something.”

I whirled the rope to the right, then the left, like a boxer. “Okay, your parents are Cuban, let’s say, and you’re born here, but you don’t speak Spanish. Are you Hispanic?”

She bit her lower lip. “I guess so,” she finally said. “It has to do with being from a Spanish country. I mean, you or your parents, like, even if you don’t speak Spanish, you’re Hispanic, you know?” She looked at me uncertainly. I nodded and returned her rope.

But I didn’t know. I’d always been Puerto Rican, and it hadn’t occurred to me that in Brooklyn I’d be someone else.

Later, I asked. “Are we Hispanics, Mami?”

“Yes, because we speak Spanish.”

“But a girl said you don’t have to speak the language to be Hispanic.”

She scrunched her eyes. “What girl? Where did you meet a girl?”

“Outside. She lives in the next building.”

“Who said you could go out to the sidewalk? This isn’t Puerto Rico. Algo te puede suceder [1]."

“Something could happen to you” was a variety of dangers outside the locked doors of our apartment ... I listened to Mami's lecture with downcast eyes and the necessary, respectful expression of humility. But inside, I quaked. Two days in New York, and I'd already become someone else. It wasn't hard to imagine that greater dangers lay ahead.

[1] algo te puede suceder: something could happen to you

































The Savoy
     by Scott C. Mikula

“Them boys got magic in their feet,” Momma said, leaning out the window while I sat on the fire escape. “You best come inside now, Eugene. I wish God’d saw fit to put magic in your feet, but he didn’t, and I won’t have you frettin’ over something you can’t change.”

I hated when Momma said that. Why’d God put me right ’cross the street from the Savoy Ballroom, if he didn’t want me to dance? Why’d he have me born with a messed up leg just to fill my heart with rhythms I could never express?

I crawled in through the window, but my thoughts were still on the boys and girls down on Lenox Avenue. They had nothing but their own clapping for a beat, but they’d practice their dance moves till the ballroom opened. Frankie was the wildest of them, flipping the girl over his shoulder or catching her from a flying leap—always trying out some daring new “air step” to one-up the others.

Soon light from the windows of the second-floor ballroom would blaze into the night, the music would strike up, and the dancers would crowd inside. I heard that music near every night, but Momma couldn’t ever spare me the thirty cents to go to the Savoy myself.

That’s why I let Willa Mae talk me into sneaking in.

I beat out a rhythm on the kitchen table while Willa Mae worked on her footwork. She was one of the real dancers—one of those that practiced with Frankie down on the street—but she was my friend, too, and she put up with my handicapped leg. Sometimes we’d brave Momma’s consternation and push all the living room furniture aside so we could try out some moves. But today my leg ached, so I just watched Willa Mae step, step, triple-stepping to the drumming of my hands.

“Don’t you want to try dancing to a real swing band?” she called. Sweat clung to her face, but she didn’t stop moving. “If we get there after the bands set up, we can sneak in the delivery entrance on 141st.”

Willa Mae was poor like me, and I knew she’d snuck in more than once herself. Momma would be working till late, and we probably wouldn’t get caught.

“It’s Benny Goodman tonight, battlin’ Chick Webb for King of Swing.”

Benny Goodman and Chick Webb! I’d only heard Goodman’s big band orchestra on our tinny old Victrola. His drummer was the best, maybe. But against Chick? My mind was made up.

The delivery entrance was halfway down a side street. Willa Mae waved for me to follow as she tried the handle on one of the double doors. Sure enough, it was unlocked.

“Hey, you kids!” I froze. Willa Mae’s eyes went wide. Leaning against a parked car was one of the bandmen, a portly man in a suit and tie. “You aren’t supposed to—”

That’s all I heard before Willa Mae yanked me through the door. “C’mon, Gene!”

I stumbled after her as we ran down a long hallway. Tantalizing music filtered through the floor from upstairs, but my heart was beating so fiercely I could hardly hear it.

“I thought you said no one’d be around,” I panted.

“I got us in, didn’t I?”

Willa Mae led me up a dim staircase to the main hall.

Everyone knew music at the Savoy never stopped, but I’d always wondered how the band could play all night without a break. The answer was two bands, on side-by-side bandstands. As Chick’s band wound down, Benny’s musicians jumped in, eager to prove they could swing harder and faster. I saw the bandman from outside slip in behind the drums.

I grinned at Willa Mae. “Dance?”

Shyly at first, I took Willa Mae’s hand and put my other arm around her back. Then the music swept us up, and we were dancing. I’d done the steps before at home, but it’s something else entirely when the horns are blaring their solos and the floor is vibrating under your feet. I was in heaven, and that band was my choir of angels!

But my angels had it in for me that night. Those bandmen played faster and harder, like their very souls were on the line, and my leg couldn’t keep up. It crumpled. I landed hard on my tailbone.

“Man,” said a voice, “I never seen a butt planted on the floor quite like that.” Frankie stood in front of me, all lanky arms and legs. He offered me a hand, but I knew the rest of his gang must be laughing at me.

Tears stung my eyes, but I was more furious than in pain. I swatted Frankie’s hand away, and stalked off to find a table.

Willa Mae watched me go, but I wouldn’t meet her eye. Soon enough I saw her dancing with Frankie, and that only made me madder. He swung her out, and she twisted her hips with practiced grace, earning some whoops from the crowd. Frankie, made Willa Mae look like a queen. Why'd she ever put up with my clumsy dancing?

I should’ve been able to dance like that. I could see Frankie’s feet, almost a blur, and the syncopated rhythm of his steps. I beat that rhythm out on the table in front of me, at first just imitating it, but then varying it, improvising, playing with the music that the band poured out.

Momma was right, God hadn’t seen fit to let me dance like that. But that didn’t mean I couldn’t be resentful about it.

Somebody slid into the chair next to me as the bands switched again. I looked up—it was the drummer that had yelled at us before. Perfect. He might as well haul me out by my collar.

But he said, “You feel it, don’t you? Like you’re not moving to the music, but the music is moving you.”

I shrugged. “I sure don’t have magic in my feet, not like they do.”

“I can’t speak to your feet, son, but I reckon your hands have magic to spare.” He nodded at the table, where I still beat out my rhythm without even realizing it. “You should try these.”

He produced a pair of well-worn drumsticks. I took them, not sure what to say. Could I really do what he did, make the music that brought the dancers to life?

No, it wasn’t a question. I would. I’d practice every day, just like Frankie and his friends out on the street, until I was one of the bandmen the dancers cheered and stomped for.

I looked out on the dance floor, found Frankie and Willa Mae, and an impish smile crossed my face as I beat my sticks to a wild rhythm. If they thought the music made them sweat now, just wait till I made it behind the drums on the Savoy bandstand!





 Lunch at Woolworth’s
      by Gloria Harris

As news of the first sit-in spread, students organized shifts so that they could join in without missing classes.

It came as no surprise when the waitress refused to serve Joseph McNeil, David Richmond, Ezell Blair, Jr., and Franklin McCain. The four African American men sat down at the Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, North Carolina, on February 1, 1960, and requested service. In many places in the South, blacks could shop at most stores, but they couldn’t eat at the lunch counters in those stores. These college students from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College knew the law, but they had decided to take action against the injustice. The four young men refused to leave their seats until they had been served at the counter, or until the store closed. Woolworth’s closed with the students still waiting.

While this “sit-in” was not the first, it was the most significant, as it sparked a mass student movement. More students showed up the next day, when the “Greensboro Four,” as these men became known, returned to Woolworth’s to try again. As the days turned into weeks, the number of protesters swelled. The students were peaceful but determined. They requested service at the counter, and when they did not get it, they remained seated quietly until fellow protesters relieved them or the store closed. Many of the students brought homework or books to read.

Although the protestors remained nonviolent, white onlookers did not. When television cameras showed well-dressed, polite young men and women being pulled off stools, spat on, kicked, burned with cigarettes, and called ugly names, the outpouring of support from students, both black and white, in northern and southern colleges was overwhelming. News of the sit-in in Greensboro spread like wildfire. In less than two weeks, college students all over the South started their own sit-ins. Within 18 months, nearly 70,000 students had participated in similar protests. In addition, people began to form picket lines at sister stores in the North to protest those businesses’ segregated policies in the South.

The sit-in movement also won support from older established civil rights organizations such as the Congress of Racial Equality (CORE), the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). CORE sent a representative to Greensboro to provide training for the students, 
which included role playing based on simple rules of conduct:

Do show yourself friendly at all times.

Do sit straight and face the counter.

Don’t strike back if attacked.

Don’t laugh.

Don’t hold conversations.

CORE field workers provided training throughout the sit-in movement, while the NAACP’s Legal Defense and Education Fund provided lawyers and bail money as hundreds of students were arrested for trespassing, 
disturbing the peace, unlawful assembly, and disobeying police orders to move from their seats. Some students refused to pay fines and served jail sentences instead.

The SCLC provided support for the sit-in movement under the direction of Ella Baker. Baker organized the first Sit-In Leadership Conference on April 15, 1960, at Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina. She invited students from 40 southern colleges and 19 northern campuses to come listen to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., share his message of nonviolence.

Inspired by King’s words and encouraged by Baker, who supported a grassroots movement that was organized and led by students, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) was born. The group adopted a policy of achieving racial equality through nonviolent protest. It participated in a number of sit-ins and also would breathe new life into the Freedom Rides a year later.

As stores closed temporarily to avoid dealing with the sit-ins, and as businesses suffered because customers stayed away, these peaceful, student-led protests met with success. By the fall of 1960, lunch counters in almost 100 southern cities were desegregated. Other sit-ins desegregated movie theaters, amusement parks, and hotels. “Wade-ins” desegregated beaches; “read-ins” desegregated libraries.

Although the sit-ins did not guarantee all rights for African Americans, they did show a younger generation of civil rights protesters what could be accomplished when people took a stand and worked together.








A Peaceful Force
         by Cynthia Levinson

Despite his slight body and soft-spoken voice, Mohandas K. “Mahatma” Gandhi (1869–1948) was a powerful force—a leader in the practice of peaceful, nonviolent protest.

He was born and raised in India, but he developed his famous guiding principles—ahimsa, or nonviolence, and satyagraha, seeking truth through firmness—while practicing law in South Africa in the early 1900s. Gandhi had studied the Bhagavad Gita, a Hindu book that teaches that people must fight evil with love. When he saw how the white South Africans treated the native Zulus and other dark-skinned peoples as second-class citizens, he began to organize nonviolent protests against racial injustice. “Nonviolent acts exert pressure far more effective than violent acts,” Gandhi explained, “for the pressure comes from goodwill and gentleness.”

After nearly two decades in South Africa, Gandhi returned to India in 1915. He had become famous for adopting a spiritual, non-material life and had been given the nickname “Mahatma,” or Great Soul. He now focused his energies on freeing India from Britain’s oppressive colonial rule. He demanded rights for peasants and religious toleration; he led nonviolent strikes, boycotts, and fasts; and he willingly faced imprisonment for these actions.

His most famous act of civil disobedience, in 1930, entailed a 240-mile march to the sea, where he and his followers staged a protest against the British salt tax. The British controlled a monopoly on the salt trade and used the tax revenue they collected to support their regime in India. This march sparked numerous other acts 
of civil disobedience across the country.

India won its independence in 1947, and Gandhi’s example of creating change through peaceful 
protest inspired millions of people around the world, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and other American civil rights activists of the 1950s and 1960s.