Improving English, staying cool, foreign trip on tap
The Arizona Republic
Jun. 2, 2006

Betty Reid

Phoenix students are embarking on their annual rites of summer, as school districts mark the end of the 2005-06 school year.

Irene Klomega plans to improve her English. Stephanie Wells is determined to find a cool spot in Phoenix. Samuael Hamati will leave the United States on vacation.

The three attend Roosevelt, Isaac or Cartwright district schools. Summer break grants students about two months of rest and relaxation. Klomega, Wells and Hamati agreed to share their game plans for the summer. High school-bound Klomega signed up for Carl Hayden High School's ninth-grade academy. The student, who completes eighth grade Thursdayat Isaac's Morris K. Udall Escuela De Bellas Artes, is eager to get to high school. But she wants to brush up on English first.

Books in English aren't available at her west Phoenix home. But the student, who emigrated from west Africa in 2003, said she'll frequent a city library.

"I'll know if I improved (my English) if . . . I can write it by myself faster than I can as an eighth-grade student," the 14-year-old said. "I want to speak good English and write it well."

Wells, a south Phoenix resident who will start seventh grade in August at Roosevelt's Sunland School, said her mission for the summer is to find a cool spot. That means running through the sprinklers in her backyard, swimming at a city pool or visiting relatives in northern Arizona.

The 13-year-old does not expect to get bored, listing distractions, such as television shows, computer games, friends and her siblings. School, however, will remain in the back of her mind. Roosevelt's last day of class is Thursday.

"Leaving sixth grade means I'm getting older and I'm going to get more responsibility," Wells said. "But I'm going to stay smart this summer and review lesson I've learned."

Hamati, whose had a busy middle school life at Cartwright's Desert Sands, will hop on an airplane with his parents on June 10 to visit relatives in Egypt. The eighth-grader bids farewell to his neighborhood middle school.

The 14-year-old west Phoenix resident is ready to relax and to take in the Egyptian sights, including the ancient pyramids.

When Hamati returns home in mid-July, he will hunt for a job before starting class Aug. 7 at Central High School.

"It's (high school) a new experience for me and I don't know how I should react," he said.