Many Irving ISD students are jumping at the chance this summer to have fun and enhance their learning through summer camps.

This includes Jeiran Padilla, a 15-year-old incoming sophomore, who is one of about 100 participants in the district’s Rising Newcomers Academy. 

This Academy invites students who have been in the United States two years or less and who are entering 6th through 10th grades to engage in learning through the rotation of five classes – math, science, social studies, English/language arts and PE – with a focus on building vocabulary.

“We are practicing and continuing to learn English,” Jeiran proudly says in English. “Classes are short, but I continue to learn. That’s what’s important.”

Jeiran immigrated from Jalisco, Mexico, to Irving 10 months ago not knowing how to read, write or speak English. 

“Everything was a challenge for me,” he says.

But he found an outlet in the Irving High School soccer program and connection with other English Learners in his classes.

“I just made it my goal to keep learning and to improve every day – to be a little better than the day before,” says Jeiran. 

He is continuing that learning at Rising Newcomers Academy, where he is also serving as a mentor to two younger students. 

“I help them to be respectful and have an open mind to learn, to pay attention so they can learn,” he says. “That way they can take home something new every day – a new word, a new verb, or whatever else – as long as they improve each day.” 

Jeiran has additional opportunities to practice his English working at an area IHOP, where he serves as a host and takes phone orders.

“I’ve been working there for about three months, and at first I really struggled,” he says. “But with all the practice I’ve had while working there, I’ve learned more and more. It has really helped my process of learning the English language.”

He hopes to one day graduate from college and become a forensic investigator. 

His teachers have no doubt that with his appreciation for learning and his drive, Jeiran will accomplish whatever he sets his mind to. 

“Jeiran is conscientious and has an amazing attitude towards learning,” says Pam Ekren, Irving ISD instructional coach and Rising Newcomers Academy coordinator. “He shows a realization that education is important to personal growth. He is a leader and honorable in all that he does. He is a great model for younger students as it relates to making learning a priority and recognizing that responsible behavior is important to learning.”