OUR PEOPLE: Burns Latino Studies Academy Students Win Aetna’s Hispanic Heritage Essay Content
Three students from Burns Latino Studies Academy took home the three top prizes in an essay contest about their Hispanic Heritage that was sponsored by Aetna. The winners (left to right above,) Savannah Maisonet, Ariyanna Michaels, and Christopher Burgos, attended the celebratory luncheon on November 17th, 2016 with representatives from Aetna, Burns School and their families.
Students could write about someone in the Arts, Sciences, Sports, or Civil Rights field, one of their teachers who has had an impact in their lives, and what made them so special? They could also write about their parents who have made changes in their own community, or about a sports player who has done something positive in his/her community? How could they do the same thing in their community?
Winners received gift cards as prizes courtesy of Aetna.
Their essays are excerpted below:
Savannah, 8th grade (1st place)
Throughout the United States of America, there are many different cultures. My essay will focus on how the Hispanic culture has contributed to the United States. I will do this by showing examples through science, sports and civil rights. The first scientist I would like to highlight is Severo Ochoa. In 1959, he was co-awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology and medicine for discovering an enzyme that enables the synthesis of ribonucleric acid. In Sports, Roberto Clemente played for the Brooklyn Dodgers and came from Carolina, Puerto Rico. He was one of the top all-around platers in baseball. In civil rights, Che Geuvar was part of the Marxist Revolutionary and allied with Fidel Castro. He joined a group that opposed the government of Juan Peron. I also can’t forget to mention Sonia Sotomayor who was born in the Bronx and was nominated by President Barack Obama on May 26, 2009 to become the first of Latinas to enter the Supreme Court Justice in United States history.
Christopher, 8th grade (2nd place)
Aetna asked me to write an essay on how Hispanics impacted our world but in this case the real question is, how this Hispanic person has impacted all of our lives at Burns? The Hispanic person I’m referring to is known as Maria Frausto. She was my leadership and AVID teacher. She is Mexican and Italian but she was raised Mexican. When Maria was 5 years old she came from Mexico to the US. Maria had some obstacles growing up like racism, bullying and learning a new language. Maria was bullied a lot in high school but toward the end of high school, something inside of her changed. She wanted to be somebody so she went and took out student loans, attended ECSU and got her degree in teaching. She could have picked any school but she picked Burns. I’m happy she chose my school. I will remember her forever and when I grow up and my own child asks me who my favorite teacher was- without hesitation I’m going to tell them Maria Frausto because she changed my life in school.
Ariyanna, 5th grade (3rd place)
Jennifer Lopez is a singer, dancer, actress and fashion designer. She sings in English and Spanish and identifies as Puerto Rican. Jennifer has contributed to her community a lot. She has three charities that help sick children and woman who have been abused. She started these charities in 2009 and they are still running today. Jennifer has won 30 awards in various categories and has inspired me in a lot of ways. She has taught me that you can do anything if you put your heart in it and it doesn’t matter what people say about you. You are still beautiful and to always keep your head up.
Congratulations, Burns School writers! Keep up the excellent work.