Culture

Some People Are Attempting To Discredit A Student’s Recent Perfect Score On A Spanish AP Exam Because He Is Latino

For those that believe Latinos automatically do well in Spanish class think again. The Spanish language among Latinos continues to decline. According to Pew Research, 73 percent of Latinos spoke Spanish at home in 2015, which has dropped from 78 percent in 2006. That’s to say, the younger generation of Latinos do not go hand-in-hand with Spanish as it is believed to be, and that’s what makes this story so extraordinary.

A 17-year-old Chicago student got a perfect score on his Spanish AP exam.

Before you think, well, of course, he got a perfect score, he’s Latino. That assumption that young Latinos understand Spanish and write it perfectly is entirely ridiculous. Speaking Español with mom and dad is not the same as writing comprehension in Spanish.

Out of 189,658 students, Arturo Ballesteros from Chicago was one of 100 to get a perfect score.

“I saw I had gotten a perfect score and was like, ‘Oh my God,’” the high school junior told NBC News. “I was blown out of the water.”

Ballesteros was in shock because he didn’t believe he did that well on the test.

“On some of the sections, I felt like I could’ve done better,” he told the Chicago Sun-Times.

His teacher, Benita Arguellez at Back of the Yards College Prep and Principal Patricia Brekke, knew Ballesteros had it in him.

“He has an incredible level of humility,” Brekke told the Chicago Sun-Times. “Yes, he’s incredibly smart, we all know that. But he’s a really good person, and that’s what makes him great.”

“Everything comes natural to him. He’s able to elaborate with the richest vocabulary,” Arguellez added.

So what exactly does this Spanish AP test cover? Lots.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the exam includes 65 multiple choice questions, a written persuasive essay that must outline “the value of digital library resources over physical texts,” a business email response, “an impromptu two-minute presentation comparing the cultural norms around keeping pets in Mexico and the United States, and discuss the merits of a career in law with a hypothetical acquaintance. All in conversational, college-level Spanish.” Holy cow.

Ballesteros credits embracing his Latino culture and the Spanish language for his perfect score, and of course, his parents.

“Spanish is a really great language. It’s the second most spoken language in the world,” Ballesteros told NBC News. “So I would say to students and young people who come from Spanish-speaking families to embrace that and learn from a young age, because it will be useful in your professional and academic life.”

He added that it is because of his parents that he will hopefully attend the University of Chicago when he graduates.

“I told my parents because I owe my accomplishments to them, but I don’t like to randomly talk about myself like that or come off as arrogant.”

We love that humility! Congrats, Arturo!

READ: Texas Official Under Fire For Telling Latina County Judge To “Speak English”

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Mexico City Celebrates Its 500th Birthday Amid A Pandemic And Mounting Violence

Culture

Mexico City Celebrates Its 500th Birthday Amid A Pandemic And Mounting Violence

Most of us are looking to 2021 with optimism, but for Mexico, this upcoming year won’t just be about saying goodbye to 2020. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) says 2021 will be the “year of independence and greatness” for Mexico, celebrating not only 500 years since the founding of Mexico City, but also 200 years since Mexico achieved its independence from Spain.

As Mexico City turns 500, the city faces many challenges and reasons to celebrate.

Pretty much the entire world was waiting for 2021 to arrive, so that we could all say adiós to 2020. But few places were as eager to welcome 2021 as Mexico was.

You see, it was in 1321 that the ancient city of Tenochtitlan (modern day Mexico City) was founded by the Aztecas, in 1521 the city was conquered and rebuilt by Spanish conquistadors, and in 1821 the nation gained independence from Spain. So you can see why 2021 is such a major year for Mexico.

President AMLO presented a plan to commemorate two centuries of Mexico’s Independence, the 700th anniversary of the founding of Mexico-Tenochtitlan and the 500th anniversary of the fall of the city that became the country’s capital city.

“Next year is the year of the Independence and the greatness of Mexico,” the president said, joined by Mexico City Head of Government Claudia Sheinbaum. In a detailed report on the year’s celebrations, IMSS head Zoé Robledo pointed out that the whole program includes 12 national events including tributes to national heroes, commemoration of relevant dates, exhibitions, parades and the traditional Independence celebration known as El Grito. Other events and celebrations are also expected in 65 cities across 32 states, starting on Feb. 14 in Oaxaca and ending on Sept. 30 in Michoacán.

The nation’s capital has been hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic and faces other serious challenges.

Like many major cities, Mexico City has been severely impacted by the pandemic. It’s the epicenter of the health crisis in Mexico with more than 500,000 confirmed cases and nearly 25,000 deaths. In recent weeks, hospital occupancy has surpassed 90% meaning there’s little to no room for people to be treated. Meanwhile, the government has come under fire for a lack of any economic security to those who have been forced to go without work as the city of more than 20 million people was placed under lockdown. 

In addition to the health crisis, a growing issue of cartel violence has plagued parts of the capitol – a city once thought immune to the cartel wars that rage in other corners of the country. In 2020, violence in the capital broke records with brazen attacks on elected officials and bloody turf wars between long standing gangs and the Cártel Jalisco Nueva Generación.

But the city also has many reasons to be optimistic in 2021.

Mexico City remains the epicenter of progressivism in the country and that can be seen in the many policies put forward in recent months. With a focus on protecting women’s safety and health and empowering the LGBTQ community, Mexico City is emerging as a safe space for some of the country’s most maligned citizens. 

The city is also undergoing a rapid transformation to a greener society with bans on single-use plastics and a move towards greener policies. From the city’s southern districts to its historical center, the city is also seeing major beautification works to help increase its draw to international tourists – of whom the city has come to rely on for the much needed tourist dollar.

“2021 will be a remarkable year for the city — a city that welcomes all and provides a home for people of all ages and nationalities, which has resulted in a unique cultural hybrid,” says Paulina Feltrin, director of marketing and communications at The St. Regis Mexico City. “I hope this becomes another reason for international and domestic travelers to come celebrate with us.”

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China Is Using Anal Swabs To Test For COVID-19 – Could This Be The Future Of Testing?

Things That Matter

China Is Using Anal Swabs To Test For COVID-19 – Could This Be The Future Of Testing?

Although the Coronavirus pandemic originated in the Chinese province of Wuhan at the end of 2019 – and the country was hit hard by the outbreak – China seemed to successfully get a handle on the health crisis quicker than most countries. However, that tide seems to be shifting as the country struggles with one of its largest COVID-19 outbreaks yet.

It could be argued that Chinese citizens also endured some of the most draconian measures meant to curb the virus’ spread: entire cities were placed under strict lockdowns, drones were used to enforce curfews, entire communities were forced into testing centers.

But now they face a new indignity: the addition of anal swabs.

China rolls out rectal testing to help stop a spike in new infections.

Chinese officials have introduced the new protocol and it’s been met with widespread discussion and some outrage. Some Chinese doctors say the science is there. Recovering patients, they say, have continued to test positive through samples from the lower digestive tract days after nasal and throat swabs came back negative.

An anal swab test means inserting a cotton-tipped swab about 3-5cm (1-2 inches) into the rectum, which is then sent to a lab to be tested for the virus. They are analyzed in the same way as the Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) coronavirus tests taken from the nose or throat.

“If we add anal swab testing, it can raise our rate of identifying infected patients,” Li Tongzeng, an infectious-disease specialist at Beijing You’an Hospital, said on state-run broadcaster China Central Television Sunday. 

Yet for many, the anal tests seems to be a step too far.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, China has been willing to take draconian measures to halt the spread of the coronavirus, even at enormous inconvenience to its population. In the early days of lockdowns, health officials sometimes sealed apartment buildings to keep people from leaving. Millions were rounded up for overnight flash-testing drives, with people forming lines in the streets in darkness.

Even Chinese doctors who support the new tests said the method’s inconvenience meant it made sense for use only in select groups, such as at quarantine centers.

“Everyone involved will be so embarrassed,” one user in Guang­dong province said Wednesday on ­Weibo, a Chinese social media platform. In a Weibo poll, 80 percent of respondents said they “could not accept” the invasive method.

Thanks to this dummy, you can get a look for yourself.

The healthcare worker dips the swab in a saline solution – standard practice for this methodology – and then inserts the cotton-end into the rectum. The swab is inserted an inch or so to get the best results, and then gives it a nice little twist for good measure before pulling out and putting it in a plastic sample tube.

The new testing guideline comes just over a year after the virus began spreading rapidly in the country.

It’s been more than a year since the virus started circulating widely in China. The country has seen ups and downs in its battle against the pandemic with the situation right now being among the worst.

However, officials are further worried about the upcoming Lunar New Year, often called the world’s largest annual migration. Some 3 billion trips are made over the holiday during a non-pandemic year, which means even a single silent coronavirus case could rapidly leapfrog across the nation.

For its part, China is hoping to vaccinate 50 million people before the holiday period begins, but that’s only 4% of the population, far too low a rate to prevent mass transmission.

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