Latino students share their experiences, success in book - Resources for your Spanish Classroom
By Jim Warren — firstname.lastname@example.org
The words, by Ana Contreras, are from Living Out Loud: Our Stories, Our Struggles, a new book written by Latino students at Lexington's Paul Laurence Dunbar High School. The writers describe what it's like growing up and attending school in a sometimes alien — and not always welcoming — country.
All proceeds from sales of the book will be used for scholarships for Latino students at Dunbar, where about 14 percent of the student population is Latino. The book retails for $9.99 and is available on Amazon.com. It will also be available soon at The Morris Book Shop in Lexington.
The idea for the book came from members of Latino Outreach Leaders, an organization at Dunbar created by Latino students.
The book's publication marks a big moment for the students, said Maria Ortiz, 18, a founder and former president of Latino Outreach Leaders who graduated from Dunbar last month. She read selections from the book Thursday night at Teen Howl, a once-a-month reading of poetry by middle and high schoolers at The Morris Book Shop.
"I really hope it inspires Latino kids and shows them that they can succeed," Ortiz said. "Many times, they don't have a support system. Our club's basic goal is to get Latino students excited about school and feeling empowered. We don't want to see them drop out."
The story of the book, and the club that created it, goes back four years, when Dunbar social studies teacher Sharessa Crovo noticed that some of the Latino students in her ninth-grade social studies class weren't trying.
They were bright kids, capable of mastering classroom work. But they were shutting down.
Crovo started asking them why.
They replied, "Why bother?"
Crovo was surprised to learn that many of the students were not born in the United States and were undocumented, which effectively locked them out of consideration for scholarships and most college financial-aid programs, which typically require proof of citizenship. The discouraged students saw no hope for college and little reason to study.
"They were telling me these stories, and I'd never heard anything like it," Crovo said. "Many of the kids had come here when they were only 2 or 3 years old. But because they were undocumented they were kind of living in the shadows.
Every year, Americans around the nation get together to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15th through October 15th. The contributions Hispanic Americans have made to the United States are endless and inspiring, and they have had a profound and positive impact on our county.
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