Every year, Hispanic Heritage Month happens from Sept. 15-Oct. 15. During this time, we recognize and celebrate the cultures of Latino Americans. Latino Americans make up roughly 18 percent of the population in the United States. As the population of Latino students grows in my school, I have become more interested in not just the celebration of this month, but the history behind the individuals we are celebrating. I recently learned that September 15 is the Independence Day for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Other countries like Mexico, Chile, and Belize celebrate their Independence Days during the heritage month. As we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month here four people I believe students should know.
Sonia Sotomayor – She was born June 25, 1954, in New York City. Sonia Sotomayor first became interested in being a judge by watching Perry Mason. She is a graduate of Yale Law School, and she went on to pass the bar in 1980. In 1992, she became a U.S. District Court Judge and was later elevated to the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals in 1998. President Barack Obama nominated her to Supreme Court Justice. In 2009, she became history when she was confirmed as the first Latina Supreme Court justice in U.S. history.
Jaime Escalante – His life was made into a movie. Stand and Deliver starred Edward James Olmos who played Jaime Escalante bought his story to the world. They called it the unteachable High School, but Jamie Escalante saw something different. He was born to two teachers of Aymara ancestry in Bolivia. He immigrated to the United States, and when he got here, he taught himself English and went to college. Later, he went on to teach math and physics including becoming a well-known Calculus teacher at one of the lowest-performing schools in Los Angeles. Despite many people who had given up on his students and cast them to the side, he encouraged them to take and pass the AP Calculus class, the definition of a true teacher.
Ellen Ochoa – Girls can go into space also! That is my first thought when I think of Ellen Ochoa. In school, she was teased for liking science. Her love of science drove her passion for becoming an astronaut. Dr. Ellen Ochoa was the first Hispanic woman to ever go into space. Dr. Ellen Ochoa is an inventor and a mentor for young girls who shows that no matter what, follow your dreams even if they are out of this world.
Roberto Clemente – His life was bigger than sports and bigger than baseball. Roberto Clemente was born in Puerto Rico. He was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates and went on to have a Hall of Fame Career. He was named to the All-Star Game 15 times. He went on to record 3,000 hits and was named MVP. The aspect people remember most about Roberto Clemente is that he was a humanitarian. He spent his off-seasons organizing charity drives and donating his time and money. Tragically, he died in a plane crash in 1972 while he was on his way to deliver supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.