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He's a translator at 13!
By NATALIA E. ARBUL┌ Staff writer
After living in the United States for nearly four years, Bryan A. Alvarado
considers English his first language.
Bryan, 13, and his mother, Aura I. Marcille, left Bogota, Colombia for
Springfield in December 1999 so Marcille could marry her then fiancÚ Bruce D.
The couple had met two years earlier when Aura Marcille was on vacation in the
area and taking English classes in Northampton at the International Institute of
Language where Bruce Marcille was a bookkeeper.
Marcille said uprooting herself and her son from Colombia was a difficult
decision made completely out of love for her husband.
In Colombia, Marcille had a successful job as a systems analyst at a bank, sent
Bryan to a private school, and was surrounded by family.
"It was a life choice. But I have never regretted it," Marcille said.
For both mother and son, assimilation into American culture and customs was
Aura Marcille spent a year studying English at the Northampton institution while
Bryan spent two years in bilingual education classes at Glenwood Elementary
"At first it was a little difficult because I didn't know how to fit in or know
English," Bryan said.
With the support of his parents and teachers, Bryan finished elementary school
with the honor of valedictorian and went on to mainstream classes at Van Sickle
Middle School, where he is now a seventh-grader.
Bryan is more comfortable conversing in English, much to the sadness of his
mother, and speaks it perfectly.
Yet, his language skills are an asset to his family and to others.
Aura and Bruce Marcille communicate with each other mostly in English.
Aura Marcille is still learning English and her husband learns Spanish with
Bryan translates English words to his mother and Spanish words to his
"Whenever we reach an impasse, Bryan is there," Bruce Marcille said.
Bruce Marcille said he has learned much from Bryan. "I couldn't have asked for a
better kid if I designed him myself," he said.
During his time at Glenwood, Bryan helped other English learners at school.
He dreams of becoming an astronaut and flying to Mars.
He has a yellow belt in "kajukenbo," a type of martial art that originate in
Hawaii, has been learning to fly Piper Warrior planes out of Northampton
Airport, and enjoys science fiction.
Aura Marcille is also fulfilling her dream of being a teacher. She teachers pre-schoolers
at HeadStart and studies early childhood education at Springfield Technical
"I am grateful to this country for opening its doors to me," she said.
Bryan credits his teachers at Glenwood and his parents for helping him succeed
in a new country.
His plans to become an American citizen when he turns 18.