East Los Angeles Renaissance Academy

Making new history

People always ask me why my family and I moved to East L.A. I tell people it is because the rent is cheaper in East L.A., but that’s not the truth. The real reason we moved to East L.A. is because my mom lost the house in Ontario. A lot of people always ask, “Where is Ontario?” I tell them it’s a nice and quiet area to live. I remember there was a mall a mile away from where I used to live. During the summer nights I used to walk around, and I felt safe. One day I came home from school and my mom said we were moving to East L.A. and my reaction was, “Why?” She told me it was because we lost the house. I told her that I didn’t want to leave. I had to leave my friends; She told me I had no choice.  Before getting to East L.A. I had heard things about the area, that it was a scary place to live. I was not happy about going there. When we arrived at the new house, I heard gunshots the first night. It was nothing like Ontario. I’m not saying things didn’t happen in Ontario. I’m just saying you hardly heard anything there. After the gunshots went off, I could not go back to sleep because I was not used to all the noise. I heard helicopters, cops, and people yelling in panic. That was my first experience in East L.A. Now that 11 years have passed, I’m used to hearing the noise from helicopters flying around and cops blocking the streets. When I go back to Ontario, I feel weird because it’s quiet, and I’m not used to quiet anymore. I no longer feel like Ontario is my home. I feel like East L.A. is my home.

There are many places in East L.A. that would be considered landmarks. Since I moved to East L.A., I have visited many places. For example, Original Snow Cones has been open for a while. Even my mom has stories about it. She used to go there when she was younger with my grandparents. She told me that if my grandpa were still here, he would probably still go order snow cones. There are times that I just sit down and think about what it would be like if my grandpa was still here. Would we go to Original Snow Cones more than we do now? We used to order the big bucket there. To me, this is an important part of this landmark because it has been a part of this place’s history. Like I said before, it’s known for big buckets. You might be asking, “What is a big bucket?” Well, big buckets are just a big bucket filled with delicious raspado! They also have benches to sit at if you want to enjoy some of the other treats with your family or friends. This place is important to the community because it has been open since the 1950s, which is a long time for an establishment to be open in this community.

Another landmark that is important to me is my school. I go to Esteban Torres High School. Torres was not always here. There was an elementary school called Hammel Elementary School that I attended. It is historical because it was here before Torres High School, and a lot people didn’t like the idea of building the school because people lost their homes and were forced to move somewhere else. For many years people fought to keep their homes and not build the school. At some points in my life, I felt like I would not have a connection with my community, but as time passed I have built my history here with this community. There is much history here in East L.A. All you have to do is explore the community.

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