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Elba Alonso de Ortega

I’m a lifelong resident of Alhambra and having a local newspaper, like Alhambra Source, is very important to me. It’s the only way to know the issues that will directly affect my day to day, where I live. That’s why I decided to support Alhambra Source with a monthly donation.

Efren Moreno, Former Alhambra Mayor

Thank you Alhambra Source for truly informing the residents of Alhambra.

Jeff Maloney, Alhambra City Council Member

The Source has become an important source for news, public interest, and serious journalism in our community. Keep it up!

Chris Olson

I support Alhambra Source as often as I can because I believe a free and independent press is vital to the democratic process. No other news outlet with high journalistic standards consistently covers the stories and issues that matter to our community.

Adele Andrade Stadler, Alhambra Mayor

The Source is a great independent newspaper that celebrates the communities and is not afraid to ask the tough questions!

Cliff Bender, Vice President, Alhambra Education Foundation

Alhambra Source is the ONLY independent news source covering the events, culture and government of our city. We need it to stay informed and aware!

Joyce & Oscar Amaro, Alhambra Preservation Group

We support Alhambra Source because this online news source is vitally important in engaging, informing and educating the residents of Alhambra.

Jose Aguayo

I support the Alhambra Source because journalism will always be part of that fourth branch of our democracy. The Alhambra Source provides me with news that helps me make informed decisions about issues that matter to me and my community. Thank you for the work you do.

Michael Lawrence, Alhambra Arts Commissioner

Keep bringing on the stories. The Source has given us so much and I am happy to donate to such an important part of our community.

Karsen Luthi

Thank you for creating Alhambra Source and providing timely reporting of important local news. Fight on!

Shirley Tatsuno

I support Alhambra Source for their detailed information about important Alhambra issues and compelling human-interest stories.

Tammie Leung

I support local news - it’s important to know what is happening in our communities.

Nine countries, five schools, three languages

Judges selected seven winners from more than 100 entries in the 2015 Sam and Jackie Wong-Alhambra Source Scholarship. Alhambra high school seniors and recent graduates were asked to write about their heritage and how it had come to shape them. The winners each received a $500 scholarship award, along with the opportunity to have their essays published in Alhambra Source. This week, we feature an essay from Annie Huang, who recently graduated from San Gabriel High School. Huang wrote about growing up in nine countries, and how her nomadic background instilled in her an appreciation of the power of language and journalism. Huang will be attending Emerson College in Boston, and studying Marketing Communications with a focus in Public Relations. Huang wrote that her passion is to "meet new, interesting people" and help them "share their amazing stories through writing or other forms of art."
 
I am from the fish markets of Saigon, the lantern festivals of Taipei, and the crowded cities of many more; nine countries of the world make up my mobile home.
 
I started traveling at a young age, and instantly fell in love with the idea of language. Thanks to the many years of my childhood spent in different countries, I had the privilege to immerse myself into a plethora of cultures, which allowed me to enrich my knowledge and develop a multidimensional view of the world I come from.
Huang reading from her winning essay at an Alhambra Source event | Photo by Albert Lu
 
From the moment I was born, I was destined to learn three different languages. My father, a Hong Kong native, spoke Mandarin and Cantonese. My mother, a Vietnamese native, spoke Cantonese and Vietnamese. As a result, I learned to speak and write these languages at a very young age. Additionally, my extended family are scattered across the world in countries such as Italy, Germany, England, and Australia. Before his death, my father had always encouraged me to experience different cultures and broaden my horizons. As a result, I started traveling before I could even walk. 

Before the age of ten I had already traveled to nine countries, attended five different schools, and become fluent in three languages. But, when I moved to America, I had yet to understand the English language. To me, it was both strange and beautiful. However, learning a new language in a completely unfamiliar environment while trying to cope with my father’s death and my mother’s remarriage was no easy task. I could not seek help from my mother, who was burdened with two part-time jobs that she worked at seven days a week, and whose English was far worse than my own. I struggled to connect with my classmates, and I felt secluded because I was place in English as a Second Language (ESL) classes. 

Determined to break this barrier, I dedicated all of my free time to my stack of children’s books, and to the opened dictionary on my desk. I would hungrily peruse books from cover to cover to discover the unfamiliar, yet fascinating words within the pages. At school, I tried to connect pieces of broken English like a mismatched puzzle so my voice could be heard. Ultimately, I found a love for writing as I learned to turn sentences into paragraphs, and paragraphs into essays. 

Huang (left) with a friend, Angela Fong, at graduation | Photo courtesy of Annie Huang

As time passed, I began to lose my accent and people began to call me “Annie” instead of “An Yee.” However, I never lost sight of the world I came from. Each country that I’ve traveled to bears its own uniqueness through its cultures and traditions, and each has given me the knowledge and experiences that allow me to relate to the people of its culture. They make up the cultured world I came from and are a crucial part of who I am. 
 
My love for words helped me find my place in journalism, where I learned to utilize the experiences, knowledge, and languages of my world to express myself and voice my opinions. I am determined to use my voice through journalism to influence the way people see the world, the way the world has influenced me. I dream to open their eyes to bigger possibilities, to opportunities that they never thought existed.
 

Independent journalism is a bedrock of democracy--and it's in crisis. Here at the Alhambra Source, we're committed to covering the local stories that matter most to you. We don’t have advertisers and we don’t have pay walls, but we do have bills. You read to the end of this story. That's great. But this kind of journalism will end without public support. Join us! Support the work and the democratic values it serves. Donate now!

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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