I am Mexican-American. I was born in Boston, Massachusetts but raised in Montpelier, Vermont.
Vermont is not “green” all the time; the majority of the year the vast mountains are covered in huge umbrellas of snow. Altruistic communities of suburban people inhabit the towns. I was their Diversity because I spoke another language other than French or English.
The first day of school in Malden High was the most intimidating day of my life. The school was three times the size of Montpelier High School. There were so many new faces, new colors, new scents, new voices, and new languages. It was overwhelming. The first week my eyes became like the lens on a camcorder and I was visually taking in what life was like for teenagers in a big city. Their culture of fashion was so intriguing; almost all the students seemed to wear “ropa de marca,” or designer clothes as my mother says. I also found their scents quite overpowering, especially teenage boys; they bathe themselves in cologne and become walking air fresheners.
I feel like my sense of style reflects me as a person. I wear clothing that is comfortable and I do not conform to what the majority wears. I believe the small town where I grew up shaped my character, the way I communicate, the way I dress, the way I drive, the way I spend my time, the way I write, and the way I view the world. My perception of diversity is different. When I was in Vermont I thought of it as the difference in color or race but once I had a change in location I viewed it as the difference not only in race, or color, or physical appearance, but as a mental difference among humans. We have differences of opinions, religion, and life.
I found my place at Malden High School in the Latino Club. The first time I entered the room I was amazed at the amount of Hispanics who were proud of their heritage. I was nominated Vice President for my senior year, maybe because I feel like I can relate to many of the “Hispanos” that are in the club. I was also surprised to find that this year the group branched out more towards an international club. I am now able to find a retreat where I can speak my language somewhere other than my home and even learn other languages.
My parents have worked and continue to work excruciatingly hard to provide me with the tools I need to be successful and be able to achieve everything they were never able to achieve. My parents were never given so many opportunities in life because they were expected to dedicate themselves to provide for their family. I feel obligated to succeed in life to repay them for all their struggles by pursuing a career I enjoy. That is why I have developed such an unbreakable bond with my loved ones. I prefer spending my time with my family and my pet Chihuahua because they make me feel whole.
I hope to someday influence others to create their own culture of life. I know I will continue to be myself and make diversity not only a word but also life.