Saturday, June 06, 2009

Jeanna Acaba Ready For UCLA...Read Her Awesome Essay Below

Hot Weather, Cool Air Conditioning, Cheap but Great Films, and Popcorn Should Get Residents To Descend on the Warner Grand This Summer at Its New $3 Night Shows “Warmer on Wednesdays” Beginning This Month; Another student Headed for UCLA Writes an Awesome Essay—and Chinese Dragon Boats for Kids? Let’s Get the Summer Rolling

College Bound Student Strikes Gold With Her Boys and Girls Club Applications and Essay; Read Her Awesome Piece

Jeanna Abaca, 17: San Pedro High student leader,

Career Desire: immigration attorney

Accepted to: UC Merced, UC Davis, CSU Long Beach, UC Irvine, UC San Diego and UCLA, UC Berkley

Selected School: UCLA

Happiness does not depend on what I have, but on what I make with what I have.

Overcoming Obstacles

My mom and I moved to the United States four years ago from the Philippines. I have to admit that I hated my new life. The move was difficult, as I lost my loved ones and the comfortable lifestyle that I grew up with. My mother and I had to start our life from scratch. My first couple of years was probably the toughest of my life, and I am proud to say that I persevered.

During our first few months here, we didn’t have our own place to live in or a car, and most of my clothes were hand-me-downs. I didn’t have any friends, and I felt imprisoned. It was so hard to fit in with any groups; I found myself alone most of the time. The new culture was overwhelming. Growing up in a strict private school, I had a very conservative upbringing. I was forced to forget some of the values that I grew up with in order to adapt to my new surroundings. My mom wasn’t able to help me because she was always busy with work. I learned on my own.

In the process of trying to be accepted by everybody else, I lost the real me. Some people made me feel like I was only that girl from the Philippines with a thick accent; nothing more. Others told me that I couldn’t succeed because I couldn’t even speak fluent English. At some point I believed them.

The teasing was severe. They called me names that I had never even heard before. That’s when I realized that in life, when people try to put you down, you just have to keep proving them wrong. That’s exactly what I did. I stopped caring that my classmates made fun of me because I was determined to succeed in school and achieve my dream of becoming a successful lawyer. I worked hard to keep my grades up and to catch up to my classmates. I maintained a 4.0 GPA, tutored underprivileged kids and volunteered in my community. I gained my peers’ as well as my teachers’ respect. I even received awards, including Academic Achievement Awards from my most challenging classes, which includes AP English. This meant that all my hard work had paid off.

I now love my life here in the United States. Being here and not having as much as I did back home allowed me to appreciate the simplest things that could actually bring true happiness.


Get Cool at the Warner Every Wednesday This Summer:

Get the kids ready, grab a few blankets and easily escape the heat this summer by planning family outings each Wednesday at the Warner Grand Theatre’s Warmer on Wednesday’s showings with next-to-new releases.

With films like Twilight to the Tales of Desperaux, it makes for an inexpensive family outing for $3 a seat with show times running consistently every Wednesday from at 6 p.m. and again at 9 p.m.

Starting June 17 with the Curious Case of Benjamin, the rest of the shows the following Wednesdays will kick off with: Twilight (June 24), Tales of Desperaux (July 1), Fast and Furious (July 15), the Dark Knight, (July 22) and Bedtime Stories, July 29.

Tickets can be purchased at Sacred Grounds, next door to the Warner Grand, or purchased at:

Warmer on Wednesdays stems from a collaborative effort with the Central San Pedro Neighborhood Council, Sacred Grounds, the Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs and the Relevant Stage Theatre Co.


Local dragon boat officials want kids anywhere from ages seven to 18 to learn to paddle for the upcoming Long Beach Dragon Boat Festival and to start learning the art rowing.

The first couple of practices for youth to try out will be free to ensure the children like the sport, said Bruce Heath, one of the coordinators and an adult rowing coach.

On June 20, Saturday at 9 a.m., the club will host youth tryouts to create three teams of 20 paddlers for these divisions: elementary 7 to 12, middle school: 13 to 15 and high school 16 to 18.

All equipment will be provided. If students decide to continue, a fee of $60 will be charged for training the entire summer, every Saturday.

Try outs will be at the Cabrillo Youth Water Sport Center.

For more information,