Yonkers senior learns English and publishes book in same year

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YONKERS -

A year ago she didn't speak any English, and now at just 16, a Yonkers student is a published author.

Gorton High School Senior Kerly Loja moved to the United States with her family last year from Ecuador and within 12 months, learned the English language, and has now published her first book before college.

Loja not only mastered a new language, but also learned nearly every scientific fact about sea turtles, their ecosystem, and their anatomy, for a summer program called Yonkers Bridges to Success, which addresses English literacy for students with a different first language.

The American Reading Company was just as impressed by her and decided to publish Loja's book "Sea Turtles." "My book is about sea turtles and basically alimentation, environment, and bio-marine," says Loja.

Loja has never taken an art class, yet she drew every single image in the book. She tells News 12 creating her book while learning a second language was very challenging, but with her mother by her side, and teachers right there with her, she says the experience was even more rewarding.  "This program helped me a lot. I am learning so many new vocabulary [words], and I improved how to spread myself and speak in public."

Loja hopes to go to college later this year and major in business.

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