Victor had many advantages to be a successful student. He was born in a rich family. His parents, Salvador and Lupe, were wealthy landowners and their rancho, where they had built a beautiful home, was very large. The rancho gave a healthy lifestyle for all his family members. Before starting kindergarten, Victor could ride horses like an adult and was ready to live as a cowboy. Moreover, his family was ready to help him whenever he needed.
However, school was extremely difficult to Victor. In fact, school was a different world from his rancho, where his family loved him. He knew no English because his parents spoke only Spanish at home. At school, he faced discrimination from his teachers and other students because he was poor in reading and he was a Mexican, who was said to be dirty and a liar. Although enduring mental and physical abuses and flunking the third grade twice, Victor found other ways of expression by drawing and coloring stars, learning math and shooting marbles, riding horses and helping his parents at the rancho. He acquired understandings from his father and his older brother, Joseph, who taught him how to be a man and to reverse his family and his ancestors.
School was a real challenge to Victor, especially teachers who usually humiliated him in class. When he was in seventh grade in a military school, his teacher, Moses, ridiculed him in front of class because his writings always received low grades. However, when Mr. Swift, a substitute teacher, showed up and encouraged the class to express themselves by writing about what they loved and not worrying about spelling and punctuation, and when he got an A for writing stories about his brother Joseph, who had died when Victor was in third grade, and Joseph’s dog, he discovered a self-confidence he never had before in writing.
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