by Karen Vanegas
This month we begin a special feature of an MCPS student who positively represents who we are as young Latinos, breaking the stereotypes we typically see in media. There is no “one-size fits all” when it comes to Latinos, and each month we hope to highlight our diversity of race, dreams, accomplishment and Latinidad.
Como diria Chespirito…”Siganme los buenos!”
To launch our first feature, we introduce…
Hispanic Heritage: Puerto Rican and Guatemalan
For me, being a Latino in America means helping bring up a generation that exceeds typical stereotypes of underachievement or incapability and to represent Latino communities throughout the United States, showing the impact and potential we have to influence ourselves and the people around us for the better. While the Latino population has the lowest graduation and achievement rates, I don’t think that we should have that image or title as the lowest achievers. I see a responsibility to serve as an example that shows there are Latinos are doing something and show the good things we can do and what we can reach.
What keeps me going everyday is knowing that all I’m working for right now is what will result in as my future. I’ve learned and heard from many leaders that many do not think proactively or “into the future” about what results and consequences their actions will bring and that it is difficult to have a long-term perspective on things. But what gives me motivation to work everyday is knowing that accomplishment can be reached by putting effort in the things I do and disciplining myself, knowing that there is potential for me to let unravel if I simply prepare and train myself.
The greatest challenge/problem for Latino youth is breaking out of the stereotypes on the Latino community being looked upon as underachievers. In schools, Latinos students are predominantly the ethnic group with the lowest SAT scores and grade point averages. The Latino youth has struggled with building an education-based life. Many Latino students slack in school and do not value their education as a priority to have a successful life. Lack of self-motivation, self-discipline, and dedication is a major issue in many Latino students.
My biggest dream is to make a difference in the lives of as many people as I can politically, academically, and as many aspects as possible. My main goal and hope is to see the Latino community rise out of the undermined stereotypes of underachievement in schools. Where we won’t be looked down upon, but rather looked up to. And that it get to the point where we are looked for to make the decisions that affect us all. I wish that in some way I could leave a legacy for my family and everyone else to follow to make a difference for the better of us all.
Before dying, I would like to travel to different countries. I don’t want to stay sort of boxed in the United States making it all I know. I would like to get to witness personally different countries and learn more about them. The reality is that there are a lot more out in the world to be known, and I don’t want to stay within the boundaries of what is familiar to me. America is frequently described as a mixture of many races, cultures, and backgrounds so visiting different countries where those aspects originated from would give me so much insight of our backgrounds. And finally, I just would love to have the opportunity to see how other people around the world live.
Education is important for me because in this world we live in, education is what gives individuals, minorities or higher class, the edge on reaching success and having a good life. Having a higher education, and having exceptional academic achievement increases the chance of an individual going to a good school, and if they continue their good achievement, they may have a higher chance of getting chosen for the best jobs. And most likely that trend of high achievement will continue throughout their career and the rest of their life. Another reason why I think education is important is because education is knowledge about the world we live in, about how it works, what happens in it and what has happened, and can help us further discover the world. Without an education, many would live in ignorance about the place they live in. Having an education is a huge benefit and cornerstone for all individuals.