Tag Archives: student writing

More $$$$$

Class 2P also wrote about money. Read one story below and take the quiz afterwards to test your understanding…

Anna Kong

If I Had $50 Million

If I had $50 million, then my life would be very different. I would make a plan to use the money and divide the money in several ways.

First, I would buy a big house in New York for me and my family. I would renovate a house and install advanced equipment in the house. I would buy a new, big TV, phones, and computers. And I would buy a house in Guangzhou for my father and pay someone to take care of him.

Second, I would invest in education. I have two children. I would spend some money on my children’s education and help them love to learn and discover.

Third, I would donate a portion of the money to children who need it. There are many children in the hospital. They need our help.

Fourth, I would start an investment business. I would buy some real estate, find a suitable business and make use of more money.

Fifth, I would go on a trip around the world with my family and take in beautiful views of the world.

Last, I would save some money in the bank.

If I had more money, then I would have a perfect life. I would have a wonderful life.

Click here to read more!



Class 3A wrote some stories about money and other related financial matters. Read one below and then take the quiz to test your comprehension…

Yueh Hong Hsia

Lucky Money

Holidays are always celebrated by family and friends together, talking and drinking. My uncle celebrated his birthday this year on Thanksgiving Day because everyone in my uncle’s family had the day off. There were about twenty people. My uncle has seven grandsons and with my daughter there was a total of eight kids at this party. They were very happy because every kid got 100 dollars from my uncle. I was happy too.

My cousin is a chef. He cooks very well and always makes special food for family parties. This time he also cooked. My cousin usually drinks a lot and I can drink a lot too, but I’m never drunk. Sometimes just a little dizzy. When we finished the party, my husband drove me home.

The next morning, my husband left home early. After he came back, I was still asleep. I just heard my husband say, “Thank you to me. I found your wallet next to my car.” I felt very lucky because my driver’s license, credit card, and a few hundred dollars with my daughter’s lucky money were in my wallet. Now I always check my bag to make sure my wallet is inside.

Click here to read more!


Life on the Lower East Side Revisited Again

Here’s another essay based on a photo by Jacob Riis from our New York Rising classes. These were written as part of their Life on the Lower East Side Project, in which students were asked to write a short essay from the viewpoint of someone in the photo.


by Vicky Qiu

I am an immigrant from Italy. I came here by ship. Now I live on Bayard Street in the tiny basement of a dirty tenement. Did you know that I live in a room with no windows and insufficient air?

I always wonder why this place is in such bad condition. I make my own bed with two barrels and a long piece of wood. I also have this dirty mattress that looks like it has never been washed, but that’s the best I could find.

Last night, when I was sleeping a few rats climbed into my bed. It was disgusting. When I need to use the toilet, I go outside because there is no toilet in my room. The toilet that I use is also the toilet that everybody in the tenement house uses. There is also no hot water where I live.

I work in a clothing factory. Sometimes I work overtime but the boss of the company doesn’t always pay me the amount that I worked overtime and I wonder why. I don’t want to complain because he might fire me.  Though I live in such a bad condition, I know that I live in a condition that is better than some other people in New York City have who sleep in a spot with more than twenty people in a room.

Click here to read more.

Tagged , , ,

Life on the Lower East Side Revisited

Here’s another essay based on a photo by Jacob Riis from our New York Rising classes. These were written as part of their Life on the Lower East Side Project, in which students were asked to write a short essay from the viewpoint of someone in the photo.


by Joyce Mei

You are looking at an alley with laundry hanging in the background.  There is a man in the center of the picture whose back is turned to us and there are also laundry lines hanging above.  At the bottom of the picture on the right side, there is a mother who is hugging a baby and a little girl who is seated right next to them.

There is another lady who is facing us, too. On the left side, a little boy is looking at us and someone, whose back is facing us, is working on something.  Even though there are garbage bags next to all of them, the place looks like their home and it seems like there is a family living there.  It also looks like it is a very bad environment, especially for a baby.

My whole family is in this picture.  I am the little boy who is standing on the left side in this picture and I am nine years old. This place is our home.  We just rented it a few days ago because my parents couldn’t afford an apartment.  We are new immigrants.  My mother is hugging my little brother and he’s three months old.  My sister is sitting right next to my mother, my father is trying to organize and clean up the space, and my grandma is looking around.

All of us are exhausted and starving because my father used all of our money to rent this spot so we would have a place to sleep tonight.  He is still looking for a job.  Even though I am nine years old, I really want to earn money to help support my family.  I saw a good street corner out there where I can shine people’s shoes, so I will definitely work harder to achieve this job!

Click here to read more.

Tagged , , ,

NY Rising Presents: Life on the Lower East Side

Life on the Lower East Side, 1850-1910

University Settlement’s New York Rising students spent last year learning how to be prepared for emergencies such as hurricanes, power outages, transportation disruptions and severe snowstorms.  Now, they are looking back in time and will explore three major disasters that impacted the lives of immigrants living on the Lower East Side of New York City…our very own University Settlement neighborhood.  They will learn about the great heat wave of 1896, the sinking of the USS Slocum in the East River, and the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire.

While each of these historic events resulted in the loss of hundreds of lives, they also resulted in changes to laws that still impact our lives today at home and in the workplace.   However, before we looked at each event, the students began to learn in greater detail what life was like for a newly arrived immigrant…perhaps someone like you…who arrived not knowing how to speak English, not knowing where their family was going to live, and not knowing how they were going to earn a living.  Fortunately for us, reformer Jacob Riis was on the scene with his camera, documenting the conditions of those living on the Lower East Side.  So today we can see exactly how difficult and challenging their lives were.

University Settlement played a major part in helping new immigrants back in the 1880s and 1900s, just as it does today. You can learn more by clicking here.

The students each chose one of the photos published by Jacob Riis and were asked to write a short essay from the view point of someone in the photo.  We hope you enjoy their essays. Read one below and click here or on the link below to read more:


by Ada Huang

From the 1850’s through the early 1900’s, thousands of immigrants arrived in the United States and lived in New York City. I was the one of them.

My name is Nolan and I am 40 years old. I came from Ireland. I am very poor. I live in an old building on the Lower East Side of Manhattan where rents for the crowded apartment buildings are low. There are 20 families living in my building, 4 on each floor. I live in a tiny room with 7 unmarried men. The room is dark, dirty and without windows. I only have one desk, one chair and one plank to sleep on. I have to put the plank on the desk and the chair back to make my bed at night and then put the plank away next to the wall during the day. Otherwise, there is no space.

The building is dark and airless because the buildings are packed close together. Some buildings are built in the yard between the front and the back of other buildings. We all sleep on the roof on hot summer nights even though it is dangerous. There is no electric lighting in the building. We only use gas lanterns to light the apartment at night and there is also no running water inside the apartment. We have to get water from an outside pump and everyday we have to share the one indoor toilet in the hallway. You can’t imagine how long we have to wait for the toilet every day, especially in the morning. We have to go to a public bath once a week to take a shower.

I worked for a very small coal company delivering coal. I worked 10 hours a day and 7 days a week. I needed to carry heavy containers of coal to the customers every day. Sadly, I lost my job a few days ago. Now, I only have a few pennies and a loaf of bread left. If I don’t find a new job soon, my landlord will kick me out.  What a hard life!

Click here to read more.

Tagged , , , , ,

My Life in My Country

Class 2P recently wrote about their lives before they came to the U.S. Read one below and take the quiz afterwards to test your comprehension:


Dan Dan Yang

My Life in China

I used to live in Fuzhou, China. I lived with my mother and our two dogs, Ruby and Rou Rou. They were two teddy puppies. They had curly brown hair. I used to take them to the toilet two times every day, in the morning and before bedtime.

I was a salesperson in my country. I worked at a department store in Fuzhou. This department store’s name was Fujian Dong Bai Group. I worked at the Revlon cosmetics counter. I loved and enjoyed my job. In my free time, I usually went out to eat, went to KTV to sing, went to the movies, and went shopping with my friends or coworkers. I loved my single life. I had a lot of free time when I was single. I could get up whenever I wanted and I could spend the day as I pleased. I could watch TV all night. I enjoyed the single life and I miss my single life.

After working for three years, I got married. I got married in 2012. My daughter was born in 2013. I immigrated to the U.S. with my daughter in 2014.

Click here to read more!

Tagged , ,

More Jobs, Jobs, Jobs!

This time Class 3A wrote about current or past jobs. Read one below and then take the quiz to test your understanding:

Esther Li

My First Job

I left high school in 1986 and I got my first job. The company’s name was Seagull Flashlight Company. It was the second biggest flashlight brand in China. It shipped to Asian countries. Although at that time China was not modern and people were not rich, we still had street lights at night. But in other Asian countries, they didn’t have street lamps, so they needed to use flashlights. So in fact other Asian countries were poorer than China. They had to use many, many flashlights. My company was very busy.

My company had seven departments: ingredients, metal pressing, sanding, polishing, assembly, packaging, and headquarters. I was a general worker first. I worked in the assembly department for two years. My duties were checking product quality and assembling flashlights. It was piece work.

After two years I became an office worker. I was an accountant. My job duty was counting how many products each worker made every day. Workers’ pay depended on how many pieces they made. So if you were hard working, you would get more money. At that time, people didn’t have computers, and the calculator was not popular. They almost always used an abacus to count, so when you came to our office, you would heard tap, tap, tap.

I also had to handle phone calls and handle money. I was multitasking. Every day I was tired, but I was happy. I had a good group of co-workers. Sometimes on weekends we went to have a picnic or sing karaoke. The job was hard and tiring, but we were young so the next day we had energy again.

Time flies. I worked at Seagull Flashlight Company for twelve years. In twelve years I made many friends and learned job skills. I did this job until I opened my own business.

Click here to read more.

Tagged , , ,