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On Oct. 25, 24 Hispanic students in fourth through 12th grades in Evanston public schools were recognized for their achievements by the Evanston Coalition for Latino Resoucres. The students and their schools are as follows:

Fourth- and Fifth-Grade Awardees

Jessy Jasso and Fernando Ferrer, Dawes; Kristian Hernandez and Erica Gomar, Dewey; Gabriel Rodriguez and Jennifer Lane-Murcia, Lincolnwood; Emily Ferreyra, Lincoln; Ashley Martinez and Susan Arreguin, Oakton School; Daniela Flores, Roberto Montoya and Damian Vega, Walker School; Kimberly Velazquez, Washington School; and Alejandro Miranda and Sinai Quiroz, Willard School.

Middle School Awardees:

Guadalupe Herrera and Adrian Lopez, Jr., Chute; Milton Rodriguez and Dulce Torres, Haven; Michael Garcia and Carla Orduño; King Lab; and Jonathan Martinez and Tanya Tovar, Nichols.

Evanston Township High School Awardees:

Miguel Coronel and Lisette Miranda

As part of the awards ceremony, Victoria Diana Miranda, a senior at ETHS, received the Senior Scholarship Award; she plans to attend the California Institute of the Arts next year. Her poem, “Mexican-American Girl” is reprinted below. ECLR provided the translation:

‘Mexican-American Girl’

‘Latina, Hispana, or Chicana?’

Who am I? A question so simple, yet so complicated …

Am I a Mexican soul with an American heart?

Am I an American soul with a Mexican heart?

I lift my face and look at my reflection in the mirror …

My skin confirms it and lets me know …

I see the most beautiful shade of brown.

But my eyes contradict it and make me doubt …

I see directly into my soul that has become Americanized, from my smallest thoughts, to my wildest dreams.
I lower my face and look at the ground…

I have not forsaken my Mexican heritage. I cannot. I will not. It is a part of me.

It gave me the language of my birth Spanish.

And it was in Spanish that I had my first thought and uttered my first word.

It is my culture.But my childhood and my schooling have made me accept and adopt an Americanized life.Now in the present, my soul speaks to me in English, but my heart responds to it in Spanish.

Is it right to feel what I feel?

I shed a tear and sigh …

I can’t help but cry. Not because I am sad or mad or confused.

I cry because I am happy.

I cry because I know who and what I am.

I close my eyes and smile…

I know the truth…

I am a Mexican Girl by birth and American by life experiences.