From TV to AP – Gaby Escobar and her Path to Achievement

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From TV to AP – Gaby Escobar and her Path to Achievement

Estefania Maldonado

NPHS student Gaby Escobar

Marisa Wherry, Staff Writer

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TOWAMENCIN- Besides her charming Spanish accent, Gaby Escobar could fool you into thinking she was an all-American girl with her extensive knowledge on American pop culture. Actually, Escobar was born in San Salvador, the capital of El Salvador, and grew up there for the first fourteen years of her life.

When Escobar moved to New Jersey for a brief period of time at the age of seven or eight years, she started soaking in American culture and it stuck with her. Escobar knew minimal English, and enrolled in the ESL (English as a Second Language) program at the school she attended in New Jersey. However, when she moved back to El Salvador, Escobar only had English lessons once a week for about an hour, which didn’t quench her thirst for knowledge about the U.S.

So, like many eight year olds, Escobar became glued to the TV- but unlike other eight year olds- she was learning a language while tuning into classic American sitcoms and movies.

El Salvador gets many of their TV channels from Mexico, which airs a fair amount of American productions. Through these English-speaking TV programs and Spanish subtitles, Escobar taught herself English, a feat not many people could accomplish singlehandedly.

Assimilating to American culture the second time she moved to America at the age of fourteen was much easier than six years prior. Escobar was placed in ESL for only one year and then eased into lower level classes. But she didn’t remain there for long, moving soon to honors and then to AP level courses.

“I guess in a way I just feel really proud of myself because you know in eighth grade I was just in ESL classes with ESL kids and then I’ve slowly, from ninth grade to twelfth grade I’ve gone from 4.0 to 5.0 to honors to AP classes so it’s like I’ve met all kinds of people and I’ve learned like every teaching method and I’ve had all kinds of teachers…I’m just glad that I’ve made it so far because like  a lot of teachers tell me that not a lot of people do that jump from ESL to AP.”

Learning the English language not only helped Escobar reach challenging academic goals, but it led her to develop a love for American cinema and greatly influenced her personality.

 “I really feel like the American culture kind of defined me, because it was at that stage where you are learning who you are, I was more into other things than the people around me were.”

Even now at age eighteen, Escobar is still doing things differently than the people around her. She has her own YouTube Channel at youtube.com/gabicks, where she often posts videos about books, TV, and movies, why she liked them, and how they connect to her life. Her most popular video, “Sh** High School Students Say”, has 59,000 views on YouTube. However, her personal favorite videos are “Dealing with College Rejection” and “(a bunch of) short letters,” a bunch of single sentences about movies she watched over the summer.

Although Escobar enjoys making and editing videos, her first love is writing, as she has written many short stories and pieces of poetry. Her dream job is to be a screenwriter for a TV show. Her backup plans are still quite ambitious; her second job choice would be working for film festivals or music festivals, and third would be working with Comic Con or Vidcon.

However, Escobar has a head start on the rest of college-bound students looking for possible internship opportunities/ work experience. She was asked to write and make videos for a start-up magazine called inconnu. One of the editors of the magazine found her on YouTube and immediately extended an invitation for publishing material for the magazine.

Although Escobar has enveloped herself in American pop culture, she still maintains that one aspect of El Salvador is better than America- the food- more specifically, the meat. To satisfy both her Salvadorian taste buds and American culture addiction, Escobar has created her own mixed culture.

“I have my own culture, but I kind of mix it with the American culture, so it kind of clashes sometimes.”

But that’s the beauty of American culture. It’s full of clashes; it’s the “Great American Melting Pot,” as Schoolhouse Rock would say. So perhaps Escobar does exemplify a classic American story: one of struggle, perseverance, eventual success, and the all-important ingredient, television.

 “I sat down in front of the computer in 2006 and never got off.”

Lots and lots of television.

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