For the Love of Teaching

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THE QUEENS COURIER/PHOTO BY JOHN CABALLEROIvonne Rozo, 17, is a literature and theater lover. The Barco de Papel bookstore in Jackson Heights has been one of her main sources of motivation.
THE QUEENS COURIER/PHOTO BY JOHN CABALLERO- Ivonne Rozo, 17, is a literature and theater lover. The Barco de Papel bookstore in Jackson Heights has been one of her main sources of motivation.

At the age of 17, Ivonne Rozo already speaks with authority of immigration, of the problems of the war in Iraq and American politics. She was born in Bogot, Colombia and has lived in East Elmhurst for nearly five years.
Rozo, a senior at Newtown High School, stands out in her drama class, a passion she combines with sports. She plays volleyball, soccer, and competes in gymnastics.
While she has been a member of the school theater group, she has been cast in plays such as “Bodas de Sangre” by Federico Garc’a Lorca and “Don Quixote de la Mancha” by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra.
From there she jumped to a project that was coordinated by the Barco de Papel bookstore and professors of the Department of Spanish of the Educational Center.
To be a part of the theatrical piece, hundreds of young people performed and Ivonne was one of the first class group of five students selected to play in “Retablo de Juana In/s: Nina de Palabras.” The performance was exhibited in April at the Theater Iati of Manhattan, and in the Barco de Papel bookstore in Queens.
“It was a great experience to be chosen for this play. The theater is one of my favorite hobbies. I hope to continue progressing in my acting as I continue in my studies,” Rozo said.
The young student, who will graduate this June, has been accepted into the Teacher Academy Program of the City University of New York (CUNY) at Queens College. Her classes will begin in August 27.
“It is a great opportunity for my future and life. Besides, I always wanted to be a teacher and to be able to help transfer the knowledge from generation to generation,” she said.
For Rozo, being an immigrant and learning a new education system has turned into a challenge. “It is a unique experience to participate in it and [especially] with a new language. The change was difficult. Although the integration to a new process takes time, this was motivated by the sports and classes such as drama.”
Rozo, has been honored for perfect attendance and has been on the school soccer team for almost two years. “Since I was in Colombia I had an interest in playing soccer on the defense.”
Members of the Queens College sports department who observed her high school play have invited her to try out for their team.
A memorable experience for Ivonne was when she was 15-years-old. She was invited by the organization ngelo del Toro to come to the State Senate in Albany to learn how laws are created. A debate was organized by a group of students from the history class and they learned the process used to approve the laws of the United States of America.
“I learned that a democracy exists and that I could have a voice and vote in this country. Through this experience, in the future I would like to be a leader of the people’s rights,” she said.
Rozo does not agree with the current war in Iraq and Afghanistan. “There are lost lives, money, and time. President George W. Bush made the decision to go to war, now the suffering soldiers are exposing their lives.”
Due to the current immigration laws, Rozo’s mother still lives in Colombia. Because of that, she wishes that the government would approve a fair migratory reform that allows the reunion of families. “I would like to share with my mom all my achievements. They are small, but unrepeatable events in my life and I would like to enjoy them with her company. I am sad because she will not able to be in my graduation,” she lamented.

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