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In “My Mother at 13:  A Vendor in El Salvador,” a Garfield Elementary Student Introduces Her Mother to the World

  • Allison Gonzalez is the 1st Place Winner in the 6th-8th grade category of the Alhambra Source Storytelling Competition. She is a 8th grader at Garfield Elementary. Photos by Helen Arase.

  • Allison Gonzalez looks to her mother's immigrant story for a lesson on hard work, bravery, and intelligence. Her father Oscar G. Gonzalez and mother Ana Gonzalez attended the Meet and Greet event at Alhambra Park.

  • Una Ibranan is the 1st Place Winner in the K-2nd grade category of the Alhambra Source Storytelling Competition. She is a 2nd grader at Park Elementary. All photos by Helen Arase.

  • Alisa Sabajon is the 2nd Place Winner in the K-2nd grade category of the Alhambra Source Storytelling Competition. She is a 2nd grader at Marguerita Elementary School. All photos by Helen Arase.

  • Emily Obregon is the 1st Place Winner in the 3rd-5th grade category of the Alhambra Source Storytelling Competition. She is a 5th grader at Park Elementary School. All photos by Helen Arase.

  • Cassidy Chew is the 2nd Place Winner in the 3rd-5th grade category of the Alhambra Source Storytelling Competition. She is a 3rd grader at Monterey Highlands Elementary. Photos by Helen Arase.

  • The winners of the Alhambra Source Storytelling Competition. (L-R) Top row: Emily Obregon, Una Ibranan, and Cassidy Chew. (L-R) Botton row: Jiantao Yu and Allison Gonzalez. Alisa Sambajon was unable to attend.


Alhambra , CA

The Alhambra Source is publishing the winning entries from its Storytelling Competition for AUSD Elementary School students. This week we publish 8th grader Allison Gonzalez’s story “My Mother at 13:  A Vendor in El Salvador.”  Allison, who attends Garfield Elementary School, is the 1st Place Winner in the 6th-8th Grade category. We have been publishing the work of the winners each Thursday. We will publish the last remaining winner next week.

The complete list of winners and links to their stories may be found at the bottom of Allison’s story.

My Mother at 13:  A Vendor in El Salvador

By Allison Gonzalez

The sun shone aggressively on a hot Saturday afternoon in a rural area of El Salvador. The streets were unpaved, no sign of cement anywhere. People walked across the barren streets, most of them barefoot. Vendors stood on the sidelines, hollering to catch attention. “Pupusas! Pupusas de Arroz, Lorocco, y Frijoles!” yelled one of them. In the middle of the chaos, a thirteen year old girl carried a heavy crate above head small rounded head, with huge beads of sweat dripping from her tanned skin. Her rugged clothes showed signs of tedious work. She dragged her feet in the dirt, leaving a trail behind her. You may ask: who is this girl? Why is she working if she is only thirteen? Well, this girl was my mother, and she had to experience this. I greatly admire her, especially for being hardworking, intelligent, and brave.

My mom has worked tirelessly, even before I was born. When she was my age, she was already out in the streets, working as a vendor. The main reason for this was because of her difficult childhood. My grandma divorced, so my mom had to help my grandma financially to make sure they had a roof over their heads. This meant working and causing her not to get enough education. Since that time, my mom has continued to work – nonstop. She loved school, but to her, the love of family overcomes of whatever would become of her future.

Second of all, my mother is intelligent. If she would have continued school, my mom could have been a banker. She can take any set of digits and easily calculate them as swift as a cheetah who is chasing its prey. This is very impressive to me because I have always wished to have to capability of playing with numbers. Unlike my mom, the calculator, my brain only seems to understand math if I have a piece of paper to see the math. In addition, my mom always thinks through before accepting to sign or do something. This shows she is smart because most people accept something, not even being sure about something. For example, when she was going to sign the contract to buy something, she checked the details. Afterward, she figured out it was a scam, which really saved us. It would have been a disaster if she hadn’t stopped to think.

Last but not least, my mom’s bravery takes the lead. If the grasp of fear tries to pull her away from her goal, she fights it. Take the time she got kicked by a horse when she was very young. She was unconscious for many hours, and even my grandma was losing hope she was going to wake up. To this day, the opening on her head is visible. In this case, I would have handed myself to my the hands of fear, and never go near a horse the rest of my life. But did that injury stop my mom? Of course not! She got on once again, and even learned how to ride.

To conclude, I greatly admire my mom for her hard work, intelligence, and bravery. My mom shaped my life today. If it wasn’t for her would I be in the United States? No! If it wasn’t for her, would I be almost graduating to go to high school? No! Finally, would I even exist? No, and I am very thankful for all she has done for me. Kids sometimes take parents for granted. Just take a moment and think about all the sacrifices they have done, and just for you.

Did you miss the other Storytelling Competition stories? Read them here:

K-2nd Grade:

1) Una Ibranan, Park Elementary

2) Alisa Sambajon, Marguerita Elementary

3rd-5th Grade:

1) Emily Obregon, Park Elementary

2) Cassidy Chew, Monterey Highlands Elementary

The Alhambra Source encourages comment on our stories. However, we do not vet comments for accuracy or endorse links to posts in the comment section. The thoughts and opinions expressed belong solely to the author of the comment.

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