In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month we asked Carlos Rosario School student Leticia, who served as one of this year’s festival emcees to share her thoughts on being a Latina and a part of the celebration. Read her essay below.

My name is Leticia Negrón and I am proud to be Latina. Our Hispanic heritage is full of great culture and foods, and our language is one of the richest. Personally, I have Boricua blood running through my veins, that is from Puerto Rico, which has the influence of Africa, Spain and Taínos. I was raised in Panama with African and Indigenous influences, and part of the Colombian culture. We Latinos are happy, hard-working, winners. We never let anyone put us down because we are all rich in culture, traditions, talents and contributions. We have contributed to this country as well as many European countries.

The Hispanic Heritage Festival is important to us because it recognizes our contributions to this country. It means honoring our vast culture, sharing it with all so that they may know that Hispanic people are rich in culture, food and history; that our history has contributed and will continue to contribute and influence food, arts and politics.

I am always thankful to this great country because it has allowed me to grow and has received well what I contribute. Today I feel more complete as a person because what  I have learned from this country and its people has made me a better person, and makes me feel proud of my origins, of my first history.

Personally, being able to showcase the culture, the dancing, and the food of each of our countries fills me with pride. For me, it was a privilege to be the master of ceremonies for the Hispanic Heritage Festival; it was exciting and gratifying. I was very impressed by the talent and passion of the students who danced; it was very exciting to see their performance so full of emotion. Thank you for the opportunity to be part of this celebration.