Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

A Proud Latino This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

By
     I am a Latino who has proved many wrong. Some may consider myaccomplishments lucky, but they are mistaken. Friends criticize me because I get good grades andactually work for my education. People of my culture think I have dishonored them and run away frommy destiny. If working at fast-food restaurants or making minimum wage was my destiny, then Iaccept these accusations of dishonor, which I define as a failure to excel. I will be the first inmy family to graduate college. I will be one of the few Latinos with a college degree, and I willhave a lifetime of jobs that require more than a basic education.

The barriers that I haveto break are extensive. College is an obstacle I will soon approach and even though I know it willbe tough, I also know I will do well. At times I need encouragement. I have to be told that theminimum isn’t always the best option and I’m capable of more. I have to give in orderto

receive. Education is the key to a better life and job. Believing in myself and notpaying attention to the way society portrays people can help me advance.

I have proven to mycommunity, family and friends that I can overcome adversity by achieving high honors throughouthigh school. I have ignored frequent comments like, “Puerto Ricans aren’t smart. Canyou name some who have actually made it?” I made it through foster homes, group homes, failedadoptions, and separation from my biological brothers and sisters.

I am standing up formy culture and proving to society that Latinos can make it in the world. I can handle stress. I canhandle jobs that require me to think or make tough decisions. I can make it in life and corporateAmerica. I’m proud of my culture and the troubles that I have overcome - the physical andemotional abuse I faced in the homes. I no longer listen to people who say, “You’regoing to end up like your mother - on crack and in the streets.” I will not listen to adultswho belittle me and call me stupid.

Society, family and the community didn’t expectmuch of me. Having more money and a better life were just fantasies. Getting a job was away in which my culture believed those fantasies could come true. As a former foster father toldme, “Money is the only way you can make it. School is good, but money is better.” Hebelieved holding a job was success. Society sees Latinos as cleaners, fast-food workers andmechanics.

Latino families have to work harder because they’re supporting a familywith a job that only pays minimum wage. Most are lucky to graduate high school, and few think aboutcollege. Since we are often considered unsuccessful, violent and uneducated, I have to disprovethese labels. I have to prove to my foster families, community and society that Iam educated and capable of more than the minimum expectations. I can be sophisticated andexcel in competitive situations. I am proud to be a Latino who will reach superior goals.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




Join the Discussion


This article has 3 comments. Post your own!

WinstonSmith said...
May 9, 2013 at 8:29 pm:
Keep up the good work!  :)
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
Bethani said...
Mar. 24, 2010 at 8:57 pm:
i admire you! i have a learning disability and was told i wouldn't have a successful life. i have a good gpa mainly a's and b's and will go to the college of my choice. you can have a life that you are proud of. don't listen to those who bring you down!
 
WinstonSmith replied...
Jun. 4, 2013 at 2:45 pm :
That's awesome.  I am proud of you.
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
Site Feedback