Celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month: The Perseverance of the Past, Present, and Future

by Aztryd Lima, Spanish Education with ESL and Secondary Ed Endorsements

“You aren’t good enough and won’t make it,” these are the words that as a young Latina I constantly heard from the world around me. Society taught me that because of where my family comes from I wasn’t enough. Yet as I reflect on what being a Latina means to me one word comes to mind; perseverance. As I am given this opportunity to write I want to share with you the story of a girl whose family gave it all for her to become a successful educated woman and how now Doane has provided me an outlet to share my roots with others.

At 10 years old, I realized that there was more to life than the latest Hannah Montana episode, and whether I liked it or not I knew I had my work cut out. My father came to the United States from Guatemala when he was 17 years old with one goal on his mind and that was to succeed and be able to one day provide for his family. My father came with little formal education, barely completing fifth grade at 15 years of age. My mother came to the United States from Mexico when she was 10 years old, and lived in a school bus because they had no money for a home. She also only had one goal for herself and that was to succeed and provide opportunities for her family. She graduated from Grand Island Community College with an associates degree while being pregnant with me and having two jobs. My great-great grandfather was part of the Bracero Program here in the United States where he never ended up seeing a single cent for his hard work. His only goal was to provide for his family.

Through my family’s hard work and sacrifices I have witnessed an immense amount of perseverance in not only succeeding, but in never losing the importance of our culture. I am a Mexican, Guatemalan, and American first-generation college student who loves tamales, chile colorado, churros, and everything that comes with having a strong Latin household. Yet, what I want to emphasize today is the appreciation for the ones who came before us and have left a legacy of perseverance for not only me, but a generation of Latinos/Latinx/Hispanics who are ready to succeed.

Yet one of the most crucial moments in my journey comes from Doane, a place that I call home. I was always told “You can’t make it,” or “You are too slow,” but Doane has allowed me to succeed through the support from my professors, advisers, administrators, and fellow students. As a student and young woman, I have grown immensely and gained many great characteristics as a person that have turned me into a leader not only for my school, but also my community. Bringing together past, present, and future I am only motivated to continue learning and making a change. I am on the road to surpass all expectations ever set for me.

The blog posts in Forward. Together. are intended to foster an inclusive community of empathy and curiosity at Doane University by providing a glimpse into various individual identities and worldviews. These are community members’ unique stories and should not be presumed to be the experience of all who share the same identity.



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