Monica Deleon, 16
Monica Deleon was born in Manhattan and raised in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, New York. She is a proud Latina who strives to break existing stereotypes about her race and community. Deleon is determined to empower people who are filled with love; she notices every day that hate is winning and wishes that people would change their ways and practice compassion and kindness.
Deleon’s fiction, often realistic and filled with sorrow, has been published in multiple collections by 826NYC, a youth writing and tutoring center in New York City, including multiple volumes of The 826NYC Review and chapbooks titled How the Earth Got Its Drama/Cómo la Tierra se formó su drama and I Am from the Moon/Soy de la luna. She has read her writing at multiple 826NYC events, including one with Dave Eggers at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
She is determined to change people’s minds about immigration and police brutality by highlighting the fact that every person matters. Instead of focusing on differences in race and lifestyle, Deleon says we should recognize that everyone has a right to safety. She believes the United States should focus more than it does on the education and safety of its future generations.
Deleon hopes to fulfill her dream of becoming a doctor after graduation from high school. Practicing medicine would allow her to save lives and help those in need.
By Monica Deleon
You never know what will happen in life. Especially in school. Some people get scared because you’re different from them. They feel as if you are going to be better than them. Some people don’t like that. My name is Monique. I am a sophomore in high school. Once I had a lot of friends, but things always happen. Now, don’t get me wrong or anything, but as time passed by, I realized people were changing towards me. Not in a very positive way, either. All the kids I thought were my friends started to act differently towards me.
One day I woke my little self up, not knowing what would happen. I checked my phone. Surprisingly, no one had texted me, which was weird because I always wake up to at least one text from a friend. I got up from my bed, did what I needed to. I was on my way to school when I realized that none of my friends were texting me yet. I got to school and went to my first period class, where all my friends were. None of my friends said hi. I went up to them to say, “Hi guys.” Some of them said hi, but in a very weird way. I asked why nobody texted me, but there was no answer. My best friend Julia—we met in middle school—Julia doesn’t usually text me in the morning so I wasn’t surprised. But absolutely everyone started acting different toward me. I kept trying to get them to talk to me, but every time I tried they sounded like they didn’t want to talk to me so I left it like that, no big problem. Now, I'm in the middle of the school day. I'm in my world doing nothing.
(Julia comes out of nowhere.)
Me: Hey Julia, how is everything?
Julia: Nothing special, just decided to come here to see if you are all right.
Me: I am fine, thanks for asking and checking on me. I have to go to class now; I’ll see you around.
I found myself going to class and seeing how things were changing. My old buddies weren’t my buddies anymore. Again, no one wanted to talk to me. I wasn't hurt or anything; I just saw it as a fact that people are temporary in your life. The only thing that was going through my mind was, Why have people changed towards me? Jessica walked in to see if anything was happening. Jessica always found a way to criticize me. I really hoped Jessica wouldn’t come up and talk to me, but she did anyway.
Jessica: Hello. Hi, fellow classmates. Things are changing in this school.
As you can tell, some teachers left and now we have new teachers. In my understanding, that meant my grades can change and the teachers can be nice or mean; it all depends on the students. Well, Jessica was leaving but before she left she eyed me down. Like I was some sort of stress or something. Jessica and I go way back, to elementary school. Jessica was one of my closest friends at the time, but she stopped talking to me. I did nothing bad to her. Jessica moved in fourth grade but she came back. I went through a lot that year. I was getting bullied back in fourth grade when I thought kids were my friends. But I realized the people you call friends aren’t your friends. Well, Jessica finally left the room. School ended, I was on my way home, I had homework but I already did it in class so that is done.
I was home, sitting on my bed since no one was home. I was remembering everything I went through when I was a kid. I got bullied in the second and fourth grades. Second grade was by a teacher. I never told anyone. I thought I could forget but I couldn’t. I didn’t want to tell my mother because I knew she would go up to the school and cuss the teacher out and everything. But in fourth grade, it was a whole different story.