I had to study.
That first day in eighth grade I felt out of place in a strange country, away from the only home I had ever known, helplessly drowning in a sea of strangers speaking a strange language. I was tempted to quit and run back to Japan. I sat there, petrified, with no understanding of what was being said and no clue as to what was being studied. Fortunately I was blessed with teachers that could sense my fear and uncertainty. With their help and patience I was able to face my difficult situation and confront the struggle that lay ahead of me. My first challenge was learning the English language.
I had the good fortune to attend Westfield High School in Virginia, which has an excellent English as a Second Language (ESL) program. This allowed me to learn English while maintaining an academic pace with my peers. Through hard work, diligence, and the demands of my teachers, I made steady progress and soon began to gain a working command of the English language. This ability opened up new doors for me and allowed me to read, communicate, and make friends. It was through these activities that I learned American customs and developed a greater appreciation of our society, holidays, politics, and history.
I progressed through the ESL classes and soon joined my classmates in the regular English language courses.