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Student Transfers To Taft After Leaving Puerto Rican Hometown Ruined By Hurricane

Jazzia Barrios, Reporter

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     Due to category 5 Hurricane Maria, which caused destruction and devastation in Puerto Rico, David Vera from Arecibo, Puerto Rico transferred to Taft to finish his senior year of high school.

     “It was horrible. The wind was so strong. The windows were about to break. It’s something I don’t want to relive again, ” said Vera through an interview conducted in spanish.

     In the aftermath, homes were left in the rubble, possessions were lost and destroyed; there is still no water, electricity, or gas.

     “As far as the damage to my house, it’s been flooded completely, literally completely. Our tv and furniture were destroyed because of the water; but those are just materials,” said Vera.

     The move from Puerto Rico to Chicago has been tough for Vera because he had to leave behind his father, grandmother, uncles, and friends.

     Although adjusting okay, Vera finds his home too far from reach.

     “My friends. The culture. I miss school over there, although I got used to it over here,” said Vera.

     Transitioning from one lifestyle to another was challenging for Vera because of the new language, culture and different people here in the U.S.

     “I feel that I was always speaking Spanish, Spanish, Spanish. Then to come to a school where everything is in English, it makes it a bit hard and I am [American], I was born here but went over there,” said Vera.

      Coming from a school with about 400 students, Vera was surprised to be attending a school almost quadruple the size of what he’s used to.

     “It’s weird because I’ve spent my whole life taking classes in Puerto Rico and I’m used to a small school, so this school is extremely big. We have about 300, 400 students, here you have 2,000, 3,000. It’s a lot, the biggest ones over there are about 1,000,” continued Vera.

     According to Vera’s brother Antonio Vasquez, who was already living in the United States, Vera has been adapting to life in Chicago well.

     “He’s actually learning more English. He’s making new friends. He’s getting to know how everything is over here. It felt kind of awkward when he was here a couple of times but he’s getting used to it now. We go play basketball sometimes either at Taft or Norwood Park or by my house; or we hang out with friends at my house or stay home and play video games,” said Vazquez.

     With Vera planning to return to Puerto Rico as soon as the damage is repaired, Vazquez believes that he should stay in the U.S. permanently.

     “I think he should stay here. He’s having fun in high school. He’s a senior. It’s his last year. He made a lot of new friends. He talks to most of my friends. We hang out outside, just try to have him have fun.”

     As of right now, Vera plans to stay in the U.S. to a four year university to either study engineering or medicine.

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Student Transfers To Taft After Leaving Puerto Rican Hometown Ruined By Hurricane