Celebrating My Diversity By Jessica Pillay (Age 8)

I am special. I am unique. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with having a difference, right? My name is Jessica Pillay. I am eight years old and in the fourth grade. I live in Queens Village, NY with my parents and older sister. I like to swim and read. But most of all, I love to celebrate what makes me, me.

There are many things that make me different. I like to talk a lot. But the one thing that makes me stand out is where I am from. Both my parents have American and Guyanese roots. I was born in America, and as a six-month-old baby my parents took me to Guyana for a few years. I do not remember much of my baby years but there are some things I can clearly remember. I remember my babysitter because she was kind, loving, caring and friendly. As I got older, I was exposed to the Guyanese culture. I was exposed to the teachings of the three major religions. There is Christianity, Hinduism and being Muslim.  This helps me to understand how other people’s beliefs are different. I had friends from different ethnic groups and I learned their way of life.

A year ago, my parents decided to move back to America. This was a very difficult time for me. First of all, I had to get used to the cold weather because in Guyana the weather is warm throughout the year. Starting third grade was difficult for me because I had to make new friends. The first day of class, the children laughed and stared at me. Some even whispered things about me. They would also laugh and giggle at my broken English accent. They also thought I was not smart because I was from a different country. This made me cry and want to go home. However, I had the courage to be brave and say to myself, “I am not afraid and I am going to get through this because I am a strong person.” But after a few days, in class I started to participate by answering questions the teacher asked. The children then realized I was smarter than they thought, and really not so different. After this, they all wanted to be my friend. This made me very happy and I became a friend to most my classmates. I was able to gain self-confidence and my classmates always respected me.

Even though the students made fun of my differences at first, I like who I am. In other words, I like me!!! Coming from Guyana has its advantages because in Guyana I was given an early start with my education. My teachers taught me to be disciplined and respect others despite their differences. So to all the readers, I would like you to ignore your differences and just Flaunt It!
DHIFI Inc. congratulates Kids Flaunt Special Recognition winner Jessica Pillay and for sharing what makes her, her!

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