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“La única herencia que les vamos a dejar es su educación:” An old Spanish saying helped me succeed

06.19.2019

Across the country, Latino students make up 22 percent of students enrolled in all U.S. schools. This graduation season, we’re celebrating the Latino excellence coming out of our communities, like the story of Johanna, who was born in Mexico, but raised in San Francisco. She shares how her family and an old family saying motivated her to do her best while she was in school. That same family saying was emblazoned on her graduation cap the day she received her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Riverside.

“My name is Johanna and I am a first generation Chicana. Nací en Mexico y me crié enSan Francisco. On Sunday I will be graduating with a B.A in Sociology and Latin American Studies with a minor in Education from the University of California, Riverside. Making the decision to leave home and go to school over 400 miles away was not easy, but I am grateful for the growth that came from this experience. There were numerous times when I was burnt out physically, mentally, and emotionally.

There were times when I wanted to drop everything in order to go back home to support my family through the challenges that we were experiencing. Through all ofthe hurdles and bumps along the road, WE did it. I got to this point with the support from mi comunidad back home and on campus y por eso este logro no es solo mio, tambien es de mi familia y mi comunidad ❤️

“La única herencia que les vamos a dejar es su educación,” is something that my parents have always told me. With these words in mind, I am constantly reminded of todos los sacrificios that mi familia made in order for me to be where I am today. The base of the nopal represents mis abuelitos, the middle 2 nopales represent mis papas and the top three nopales represent mis hermanas and I. Nuestras raíces son en Mexico, which is why the nopal is stemming from la bandera Mexicana.”