Reported by 7Teen Reporter: Sydney Dunn
DEQUINCY, LA (KPLC) -
Thousands of high school students in our area have reached a milestone. One that's been a dozen or more years in the making.
It's graduation time.
In this 7Teen Report, Sydni Dunn with Lake Charles-Boston Academy TV introduces us to a DeQuincy High senior and the third grade teacher he never forgot.
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[CG in 0:45 to 0:51:03\TEEN REPORT\Kashas Irwin\Esteban's Third Grade Teacher]
Esteban Espitia is ranked at the top of his senior class at DeQuincy High School.
ESTEBAN SAYS, "I'M IN SPORTS, BETA CLUB, QUIZ BOWL, NATIONAL HONOR SOCIETY."
7Teen Reporter Sydni Dunn says, "There is no doubt Esteban is smart and has a lot going for him, but school wasn't always that easy. He had an unusual start at DeQuincy elementary school."
Esteban's third grade teacher Kasha Irwin says, "I think his face was more afraid than mine was."
Esteban says, "I was here and I didn't know what to do."
Esteban was eight years old.
He had just moved from Columbia and could barely speak a word of English when he entered Kasha Irwin's third grade class in 1999.
Esteban says, "the first time I walked into class, there was labels everywhere in the classroom."
Irwin says, "teachers pulled together and we made a plan. We had the classroom labeled, Spanish, English. All the kids wore name tags. I would record things for him to listen to at home."
Esteban says, "while they did math, I did English. While they did science, I did English."
Within five months he was catching on.
Irwin still has the letter his mom wrote nine years ago.
Esteban's mom wrote, "my son is a happy boy. I thank you for his happiness."
Esteban says, "I realized what a great place this was and how fortunate I was to be here."
Irwin says, "we had made a bargain that if he learned English, I would learn Spanish, so this is the only Spanish I've learned besides "hola". Eres muy especial. He is very special."