The Pressures of Being Hispanic


Jennifer Hernandez

Wyoming High School journalism students.

Hispanic students are expected to overcome their parents. They have sacrificed everything for them to be able to be in this country, to offer them a better life and a better education. But at what cost? Does this extreme pressure on their kids make them successful? Does the pressure help or damage students?
Wyoming High School is a very diverse place where students feel free to be themselves. There’re outstanding students, average students, and then there’re students who really struggle a lot. Why do some students struggle? Is it the pressure at home that affects their grades and their mental health?
Persuasion from home “helps some students and for some it doesn’t, they feel really pressured and it goes both ways,” said Janell Ramos, a Junior at Wyoming on the topic. She’s a future first generation student who plans to fulfill her goals in forensics. She says some advice she can give to another Hispanic student is, “look at it through your parents point of view, so you can understand where they are coming from but also keep in mind that at the end of the day, it’s your decision.” Janell is one of the many Hispanics in this community that understands the struggle of being a Hispanic student. She has older siblings that also were expected to graduate from high school and move on to college and start a career.
“If my parents had the chance they would have gone. My mother dropped out in 8th grade,” said Samantha Leon who is a sophomore at Wyoming. She claims that her overall work ethic at school is not as good as she would want it. “I’m bad at turning things in so my parents expect me to be on top of my game, so I can pass to the next grade.” Samantha says that her parents want her to do better them. They don’t want her to make the mistakes they did, they want her to do what they didn’t get to do. Sam often finds that she knows her parents intend good at telling her this while growing up and still to this day enforce it, but she also finds that she is constantly compared to her siblings or other family members and that brings her down. Samantha doesn’t think college is for her. She has time to think if it is or isn’t… But what will her parents think? Will they support her decision?
“It’s been hard for me to understand and develop my English to a point where I don’t struggle as much in classes,” stated Jessica Rojas a Senior at Wyoming. Her first language was Spanish and learning English was hard for her throughout school. Both of her parents were born and raised in Cuba. She doesn’t have much family here. Most are back in Cuba and some in Florida. The start of this school year hasn’t been as smooth as she thought because she is still taking Junior and sophomore classes over again. “I think the main reason why I haven’t done as good in school is definitely because I don’t know what I am going to do after high school and my mother is always on top of me because of it.” Jessica also says that she has always been compared to her family in Cuba. “If your cousins had the opportunity to be in your place they wouldn’t take that for granted, and they would be grateful for it.” Jessica thinks that it’s important to do what you want to do, and she says, “it’s one thing to say you’ll do something and it’s a whole different thing if you actually do it.”
“My father was a dreamer, and he wanted his daughters to have a career. He would tell my sisters and I, Imagine if you can cure cancer,” said Mrs. Bernatowicz, a Hispanic teacher here at Wyoming. She was born in Guadalajara, Mexico. She moved when she was 8 years old knowing fluent Spanish. Her mother had to start babysitting to support the family. She says her parents always reminded them about what a big sacrifice they had made so that their kids could do better. Her parents strongly believe that every generation has to be pushed to be better so children can do better than their parents. Her older sister didn’t want to go to school and her parents would compare her to her sister and say, she’s more motivated than you and she’s younger than you. Mrs. Bernatowicz understands that if you’re a Hispanic student who doesn’t continue their education, it will paint us in a bad light because our people, our family, expect that. Especially those that didn’t have the chance themselves. Some advice Mrs. Bernatowics says she would give to another Hispanic students from her perspective is that, “there is wisdom in your parents, an education brings us to another level of ability. I know that college isn’t for everybody but everyone can contribute.”
Despite all, students should seek to be a better version of themselves all the time. Whether college is for you or not, we shouldn’t judge others, it’s important that as a community we help each other when we are in need of advice or support. It’s important to stick together, as Hispanics while we struggle, just as any human being would.