Sullivan Savage-Elizabeth


Fourteen year-old ROSE is the only AMERICAN in her household. She, her parents and two beautiful sisters live in constant fear that they will be sent back to MEXICO. Rose, homely, overweight is the target of relentless bullying at the rich, white junior high school where she shines as a gifted student and writer. HECTOR her father and NACHA her mother scratch out a living with work on the winery where they live. They struggle to stay in America so their daughters can receive an education and hope for a better future. Anti-immigration anger and continued raids by IMMIGRATION create a dangerous game of hiding "underground" while being a part of society.

LILY, ROSE'S ENGLISH teacher, receives notice that if she does not complete certification to work with bilingual often illegal immigrant students, she will lose her job. This injustice of possibly losing her job because of people who break the law makes see her students differently, including her best student, ROSE.

ROSE does not escape a day of bullying at school by ZOE AND THE CLONES. Rich, white, blonde MEAN GIRLS whose racism and entitled attitudes run the school and torture ROSE for her looks, poverty, and ethnicity. When ROSE accidentally spills enchilada sauce and some lands on ZOE'S pristine white shoes, ANTHONY, janitor, 40's long hair, tattooed, diffuses the ugly situation with unexpected empathy. As he cleans ROSE'S notebook, he reads her writing, recognizes her talent, and a kindred spirit.
The winery is raided by IMMIGRATION. HECTOR, hides, leaves NACHA alone with ROSE and her sisters, ESPERANZA 10, and ELENA 8. Desperation for money to live and to hire an immigration lawyer pushes ROSE to accept the challenge of entering a state-wide writing contest for the cash prize. LILY must run the contest for the school: her two contestants: ZOE and ROSE.

The contest brings out the best and worst in all participants. ROSE'S fear of public speaking, shame of her looks, must be overcome. ANTHONY aids ROSE by allowing her to use the library's computer as he cleans, revealing his struggles with OCD which made him run from life and writing. ROSE helps Anthony with his fears by a day in a park; his first. Lily angry and confused has an outburst which destroys Rose's fragile confidence and makes her flee from school. She begins to works with NACHA cleaning houses where one of the CLONES sees ROSE scrubbing toilets setting up public humiliation for ROSE. Shattering any confidence left. A chance sighting after practice by ZOE of ROSE and ANTHONY leaving the library in the evening sets up ugly gossip jeopardy for both.

HECTOR is arrested, set for deportation. Housing at the winery is tagged. NACHA and the girls are evicted, left homeless and broke. NACHA must go back to Mexico, but the need for ROSE to stay in school forces her to go to LILY for help. ZOE's jealousy threatens LILY, ROSE, and ANTHONY when she fails to make finalist and goes to the principal with damaging charges. LILY has to make choices that are true to herself; as ROSE has to overcome her fears and prove her belief in stories and their power when she reads NO RUNNING in front of the judges telling the story of good people who see the world differently, and how they can survive in dignity.

Copyright 2007 Sullivan Savage-Elizabeth
All Rights Reserved