ILWACO After having reached his destination through many miles of travel and overcoming a language barrier, Isrrael Bautista is one of the beaming, proud seniors that will be receiving their diploma at the Ilwaco High School graduation ceremonies on June 4.
Originally from Oaxaca, Mexico, Isrrael says he came to the United States with his cousin several years ago. They wanted to leave Mexicos bad habits behind, so they moved north, residing in New York, Illinois, Indiana and Utah before settling on the Peninsula, near his uncle.
Upon arriving here, Isrrael lived on his own for a year, which he said was hard because he didnt have a job and was relying on help from friends. One day, his uncles employee suggested that Isrrael enroll in school, but he was a bit hesitant; the only English he knew was Hi and How are you? In fact, the language he spoke was an older, native dialect of Spanish, not the more commonly known Spanish language.
Four years ago, he enrolled as a freshman at Ilwaco High School, where he took ESL (English as a Second Language) classes to develop his communication skills. He was surprised to learn that he could choose his own classes; in Mexico, students take the classes that they are given.
I didnt pay much attention in school [in Mexico], he admits. There are a lot more opportunities here and I can pick my classes.
In addition to his English class, he also enjoys his Contemporary World Problems class because he likes to learn about the war in the Middle East.
In his junior year, Isrrael joined the wrestling team, finding a sport he loved and making lots of new friends using the English skills he had learned.
Its good, I like it, I enjoy it, he says of wrestling.
Last year he wrestled in the 125-pound weight class, and this year he wrestled in the 125- and 119-pound weight classes.
I also like basketball, but Im too short, he laughs.
Isrrael currently lives with his cousin in Long Beach and helps him with painting, roofing and other odd jobs. After high school, Isrrael wants to attend Clatsop Community College to possibly study science and eventually become a doctor maybe.
I dont know, I dream a lot, he smiles.