Karyn Ferreira, 20’s
Current Role: 5th grade Dual-Language Teacher
What racial, ethnic, cultural community or communities do you identify with?
When and how did your family come to the United States? Where were you born?
I was born in Everett, which I always make the joke that I was born in Everett, live in Everett, and probably will end up dying in Everett. Yet, my parents are both from Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico and came here about 25 years ago. In a way, that is my second home.
What are the strengths and challenges of being Latinx?
Growing up, I was blessed to be a part of a widely diverse community. A strength of growing up Latina is being exposed to my culture as one way of life, and seeing how we, as people of color, are the same and how we are different. The strength of having a differing viewpoint on life and experiences.
A challenge is always the microaggressions and the stereotypes. In high school, my guidance counselor went to talk to everyone individually at the end of sophomore year, and I have a VERY Latinx name. I had signed up for every AP class I could. She didn't know me except for my name on the piece of paper. She told me that maybe I should take only one, as that may be all that I could handle. I had been a straight A, all honors classes student, but just because I was Hispanic, she thought I wouldn't be able to do it when she hadn't said the same to my white peers.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
My proudest accomplishment has been being one of the first in my family to graduate and accept my dream job.
What is one thing you learned or appreciate from your family growing up?
I learned to appreciate hard-work. It has been a value that has always been instilled on me. If you work hard, you can achieve what you want.
Do you speak your family's native language? Why or why not?
I speak, read, write and teach fluently in Spanish. My mom always instilled in me growing up that knowing two languages was valuable and even sent me to Mexico for 6 months when I was 5 years old where I learned to read and write in Spanish before I had learned in English.
What advice do you have for the younger generations in your Latinx community?
My advice is to reach out to those who have done what you want to do. They will be willing to help lift you up, mentor you, and help you achieve what you want to do.
What gives you the greatest joy in life?
Being able to say that I am doing what I love, and that I've been able to achieve everything that I have wanted and making my family proud every step of the way.
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