LA's BEST student wins statewide essay contest

5th Grader to present winning essay about advantages of being bilingual at the California Association of Bilingual Education 2013 Conference

February 8, 2013

LA’s BEST fifth-grader Alexis Burrell from 135th Street Elementary has been selected as the 3rd-5th Student Writing Contest Winner for the California Association for Bilingual Education (CABE) 2013 Annual Conference. The essay, which she wrote in LA’s BEST, responded to the prompt “How does being bilingual create a change in my community?”

As a contest winner, Alexis will be an honored VIP guest for the conference in Long Beach where she will read her essay, attend a dinner banquet and receive a savings bond.

A copy of her winning essay can be found below.

"Being Bilingual"

by Alexis Burrell

Being bilingual is cool. In my community, people speak Spanish and English. Being bilingual creates a change in my community because I am able to help the people in my community. I can tutor people in different languages, and translate for them so they can understand each other and communicate. It helps me for my future.

I can tutor people who speak English, so they can learn and understand Spanish a little more and tutor people who speak Spanish to speak and understand English a little more, too. I help one of my neighbor’s daughters with her homework. She speaks Spanish, so she has trouble understanding her homework. Helping her, she can understand her work and she can prepare for her future.

I’ve helped translate in my school for a teacher and the nurse. My mom was unable to show up to a parent conference so my grandmother came instead. I translated for her so she would know what my teacher had to say. I also translated for the nurse when there was a little girl with a bloody nose in the nurse’s office. She called the parent and tried to let him know what happened, but he did not understand English. She asked me if I could tell him and I did.

My grandmother was trying to apply for a job, but the application was in English. I helped her fill it out. Because I helped her, she got hired.

Being bilingual helps me and my future. There are many advantages with being able to speak more than one language. You can communicate with more people, making it easier to help, tutor or translate for them. Being bilingual makes me feel really cool because I love helping people and I learn more things myself. I hope, as I get older, I can succeed in learning more languages and become better at the ones I already speak.


About LA’s BEST

LA's BEST - Better Educated Students for Tomorrow - is a nationally recognized after school education, enrichment and recreation program serving more than 28,000 children with the greatest needs and fewest resources throughout the City of Los Angeles. LA's BEST After School Enrichment Program provides a safe haven for children ages 5 to 12 at 189 elementary school sites each day during the critical hours after school — at no cost to parents. Established in 1988, the program’s partners include the City of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Unified School District and the private sector. LA’s BEST is part of Beyond the Bell, whose mission is to ensure that all children and youth in LAUSD have access to high-quality, safe and supervised academic, enrichment, and recreation programs that inspire learning and achievement beyond the regular school day. For more information, please visit