The Parrot gives ESL students a voice


Student worker Emma Jaques designs an upcoming edition of “The Parrot.” “The Parrot” is a newsletter that is published on the American River College campus that showcases work by English as a second language students. (Photo by Lena DoBynes)

Joseph Daniels

For Parisa Samedi, her English career began when her writing was first published in the American River College based newsletter “The Parrot.”

The Parrot is a platform for English as a second language (ESL) students to have their work showcased.

Samedi now works at the Learning Resource Center as an ESL tutor, and has translated a book of poetry called “Face to Face with Dreams” by Ziaeddin Torabi from Farsi to English.

“When I first saw my name in “The Parrot” I was really happy, because I thought, oh somebody likes my poetry I have some audiences so that I can write for them, so the Parrot encouraged me,” Samedi said.

Currently there are two student workers who decide upon a selection of essays that are submitted by students from various ESL classes to be featured in a given issue.

It is Emma Jaques’ third semester of working for The Parrot, and she is in the process of training Elaf Khafaja. Khafaja previously took ESL classes at ARC, and had her writing published by The Parrot in the previous semester.

Jaques said that there is little editing involved during the selection process.

“If there are minor things, sentence structure, or things like that we can fix, but if it’s a conceptual thing, like something to do with an essay, not something such a minor detail, that is when we will contact them,”  Jaques said.

Paul Bracco has been the adviser for the the publication since its inception in 2006. He said that the reason why he wanted to start The Parrot is because he is fascinated with stories.

“The parrot is an interesting bird, multicolored, kind of like our students,” Bracco said when asked about how how he came up with the name for the newsletter. “Speaker of many

languages. I just thought it would be appropriate. Sometimes caged, often caged. Sometimes not respected, because the parrot doesn’t really talk, it just imitates.”

Khafaja said what she enjoys most about working for The Parrot is learning more about the ARC campus, and learning about its faculty.

Khafaja said it feels like she did something great when she is able to show her published work to her family.

“(Being published by “The Parrot”) encourages me to write more. Sometimes I can write new things, so maybe one time they can select my essay for any Parrot,” Khafaja said.