Tag Archives: St. Edward’s University

¡Felicidades a Dayla Longoria!

¡Felicidades a Dayla Longoria de St. Edward’s University, nuestro Heritage Student Spotlight para le mes de enero 2024! Stefano fue nominado por su profesora Dr. Emily Bernate quien habló sobre el excelente trabajo de Dayla como estudiante y teaching assistant.

En sus propias palabras:

“Hello everyone! My name is Dayla Longoria. I was born and raised in Mission, Texas in the Rio Grand Valley. I am a first-generation senior attending St. Edward’s University majoring in Psychology and minoring in Spanish. My parents were both born in Rio Grande City, Texas, but were raised in Miguel Aleman, Tamaulipas, a small town in Mexico. I am grateful to have inherited Spanish as my first language, until the age of 4 where I was enrolled into pre-kinder and learned English. I am grateful to have had teachers such as Mrs. Sandborn who had the patience to teach me.

After learning English, I felt a little disconnected from my native tongue. I would only speak Spanish at home and felt like it wasn’t as important anymore. I remember telling my family that I hated speaking Spanish and would often ask them to speak to me in English. Reflecting back on those moments, I understand why I felt hatred toward my native tongue. I wasn’t publicly accepted in my surroundings. Although it was a common language spoken in my town, it wasn’t accepted in my elementary school. To this day, I feel a grand amount of remorse for telling my loved ones there was no point in speaking Spanish. So a piece of advice I give to you all is to please be proud of who you are, we all come from generations who have fought wars, injustices, genocides, and oppression. These past generations fought for a better future, a place for us to be able to have opportunities and share their stories. As much as we are often unwelcome, never feel like you have to let go of your language. Use your language at home, teach it to your children, to your friends, share with them the beauty of our Spanish language because that is who you are.

I had the privilege to fully immerse myself in the Spanish language and studied abroad in Spain. It was a grand experience where I spoke Spanish 24/7. It was a big change for me, but I definitely felt like I grew from this experience. If you have the opportunity to study abroad I would definitely recommend you to take it! You become someone completely unrecognizable, but in the best way possible!

Along with strengthening my Spanish writing abilities, my Spanish minor has brought me a greater appreciation for our Latin American cultures. Growing up, I was only exposed to my Mexican roots, so having the opportunity to learn about other Latin American cultures brought a lot of perspective. Along with these enrichments, I have learned some hardships our communities face on a daily basis. Most Hispanics unfortunately are not presented with the right resources and are left in the dark. Especially in the medical field, they aren’t provided with how to apply to medical insurance or who to refer to when feeling unwell. It’s an outrage to see this inequity and everyone should be able to have the same right to medical care. I have the privilege to be able to have these resources be accessible to me, yet there are definitely needs to be a change in the system immediately. I want to be able to give back to my community that has strengthened me and has brought so much. Speech Pathology has been an interest of mine and I apply to apply to a bilingual graduate program and be able to help out Hispanic communities have more clinics available to them.”

Gracias, Dayla—¡Muchas felicidades!

Si usted es instructor/a de español como lengua de herencia, y quiere nominar a un estudiante, favor de entregar una solicitud aquí.

¡Felicidades a María García!

¡Felicidades a María García de St. Edward’s University, nuestro Heritage Student Spotlight para el mes de abril! En sus propias palabras:

I was born in Mission, Texas and raised in Reynosa, Tamaulipas, which is where my family is from. My mother has a degree in chemistry from UDEM and my father has a degree in agricultural engineering from Tecnológico de Monterrey. I’m a junior at St. Edward’s University, currently working on my major in Political Science with a concentration in pre-law and international studies and my minor in Spanish. Spanish is my first language, I did not learn English until first grade thanks to my teacher, Mrs. Jackson, and the dozens of Junie B. Jones books that I was instructed to read out loud. Aside from the job interview advantage, I enjoy using my language to connect with other Spanish speakers. My dream is to become a civil rights attorney. Learning Spanish to reach a professional level of literacy felt necessary for me to accurately assist any Spanish speaking clients, because in law every word matters and I, as their attorney, should be able to translate and explain without missing a beat. I’ve benefited greatly from studying my heritage language. While I was fluent, I did not know grammar correctly, but most importantly it taught me to accept all Spanish speakers regardless of their dialect. This leads me to the advice I want to give to other Spanish heritage students and speakers.

As much as we might feel unwelcome in certain places, never let go of your language. The biggest lesson I learned from my Spanish minor was that not everyone’s immigrant parents or family had the opportunity to enrich the next generation of Spanish speakers, not because they did not like the language but rather because they were focused on assimilating. That was a wake up call for me because for many years my parents instilled the thought that people who spoke broken Spanish, or Latinos “con el nopal en la frente” who did not know Spanish were lazy individuals who hated their home country. So now my perspective on my identity has changed. 

I’m a privileged Latina. I already knew this of course, my parents had the privilege of attaining work visas and later mitigating their residency with the help of an attorney and traveling to other agencies that work faster (took about two years but it was still faster than usual). But what I didn’t consider privilege was my language. 

My parents did not need to assimilate because they never had to work in the US. My mother owns a laboratory equipment distributor, and my father has his ranch with Charbray cattle. Through the assistance of her US distributor she was able to file for a work visa for her and a spousal one for my father. We left Mexico for two primary reasons, balancing life between two countries was becoming too difficult to manage because my mother crossed the border every morning to take four kids to school, and the increasing violence and conflict between cartels, the federal police, and the US was beginning to scare my father about our safety.

This is all to say that I am a privileged Latina and I thank my parents everyday for the opportunities they granted us all while working in a different country. We left behind a lot of our customs like eating together and visiting my grandparents and great grandparents daily. But this sacrifice does not compare to the stories of people who had to leave and give absolutely everything to reach the US. No wonder they felt the pressure to leave their language too. So now that you’re here as a Spanish heritage student, hold on to your language and don’t let anyone tell you that here they speak English, because they don’t just speak English. Use your language at home, teach it to your children, your partners, share the wonder that is Spanish or any heritage language for that matter because that language is you. No matter how far I end up, I still catch myself saying “no manches” or listening to cumbia or scouring Apple Maps to find a chamoyada. Mexico will forever be a part of me.

On behalf of all Spanish speaking first generation Mexican-Americans, I’m sorry if your family had to leave their language behind, and I’m sorry if anyone ever criticized you for a decision you did not make. Remember, it’s never too late to learn or return to your roots. Mexico is still here, alive and vibrant, and it’s waiting for you too!

Si usted es instructor/a de español como lengua de herencia, y quiere nominar a un estudiante, favor de entregar una solicitud a nuestro sitio web.

Congratulations Perla Ortiz!

¡Felicidades a Perla Ortiz!

El equipo de TeCHS y COERLL se enorgullecen en presentar al Student Spotlight del mes de marzo: Perla Ortiz. Actualmente ella está cursando su cuarto año en St. Edwards’ University . Ella fue nominada por el maestro Luis Avilés. Nos comparte que Perla es una estudiante extraordinaria y que tiene un futuro brillante como académica o doctora.

Congratulations Johana Ortiz Suchil!

Felicidades a Johana Ortiz Suchil

El equipo de TeCHS y COERLL se enorgullecen en presentar al Student Spotlight del mes de noviembre: Johana Ortiz Suchil. Actualemente ella está cursando su cuarto año en la universidad de St. Edward’s en Austin. Ella fue nominada por la Dra. Emily Bernate que comparte con nosotros lo siguiente:

“Johana es una estudiante excelente que se ha esforzado mucho para poder hacer una especialización en español. La conocí hace dos años cuando solo había planeado hacer una especialización en derecho penal (Criminal Justice). En los últimos dos años ha tomado muchos cursos de español, incluyendo Spanish for Heritage Learners, para poder obtener una segunda especialización. El próximo semestre trabajará como TA para un curso de español y será un buen modelo de una persona que valora su bilingüismo. Cree que el bilingüismo es una herramienta importante que se debe desarrollar para trabajar en un país con tanta diversidad lingüística. Además de ser una estudiante aplicada, siempre ofrece comentarios analíticos y creativos.”

My name is Johana Ortiz Suchil and I am a first-generation College Assistance Migrant Program college student from Kerrville, Texas but originally was born in San Felipe, Guanajuato, Mexico. I am currently in my fourth year of my college journey double majoring in Criminal Justice and Spanish. Spanish has been a tremendous part of my life thanks to my family and friends. Being born in Mexico allowed the opportunity for me to go to school for about two years before I moved to the United States when I was about six years old. I come from a traditional family where we are accustomed to speaking Spanish daily at home, and it just feels natural to use it. My advice to other heritage speakers is to practice the language whenever you get a chance and to not be afraid to use it, no matter what others tell you. It can be difficult to use the Spanish language when criticisms are high for other languages and the push for English usage is dominant and important, but do not let that stop you from practicing. One of the things I enjoy the most from using and enhancing my heritage language is the ability to connect with other Spanish speakers from all over the United States and the world. This connection with other Spanish speakers creates the opportunity for me to learn from their culture if it’s different from mine and vice versa, but it also creates an opportunity to just have a conversation with someone who has something in common with me. Studying Spanish at a college level has given me the opportunity to expand and enhance my knowledge in the language, so I can use it in the future for other social connections and use in a variety of career paths. Thanks to this, I plan on using my Spanish skills and knowledge to either work with immigration by helping individuals through the documentation process of becoming citizens, residents, or legal individuals. I want to be able to give them the opportunity to prove to themselves that they belong here, but also let them know that diversity and our Spanish language is still important to our individuality as well as our culture. This process is important for their future and their careers, but knowing the Spanish is still present can help be a motivation for them to keep practicing it and teaching it to future generations.

¡Felicidades Johana!