Graduation Speech : A Latina Growing Up Into New York City With Parents From The Dominican Republic

Graduation Speech : A Latina Growing Up Into New York City With Parents From The Dominican Republic

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As a Latina growing up in New York City with parents from the Dominican Republic, I knew the difficulties of living in poverty. As a child, financial arguments were a common thing, budgets were strict and extra funds were low. However, when it came to education money was not a factor. Education was the solution to poverty, with a good education you’ll succeed and obtain a great job. I kept this mentality with me throughout my academic career. I completed my undergraduate studies in Rhetoric and Communications in hopes of starting a marketing career. That quickly changed when I started my first post-undergraduate job.
At this time, I became a group leader in an after-school program for a 3rd-grade class. This was my first time working with children and as imagined, it was a tough transition. The students were Latino and African American, living in poverty stricken neighborhoods with a dysfunctional home life. The program focused on students who were at risk of retention. A large number of students were below average and had been recommended to receive extra academic support. As a result of my time spent working and learning with the students, I choose an educational path.
After working with the 3rd graders, I became an assistant teacher at an early childhood education center in a low-income neighborhood with numerous students who needed extra support due to behavioral and emotional disorders. At one point, I encountered a student with selective mutism; selective mutism is when a person is capable of speaking but voluntarily chooses not to communicate verbally. I began to work one on one with him to understand why he didn 't communicate verbally. The first course of action was a meeting with his mother to learn more about him and th...


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...l in an urban area. When working closely with students in the past, it was difficult knowing that I could provide extensive support but didn’t have the expertise. I 've explored different careers involving help children and their families but it always led back to social work. As a graduate student, I expect to be challenged as a student and a professional. I expect to learn all the different theories, practices and policies in place to properly help students. I look forward to the combination of coursework and practicums to enhance my skills. In retrospect, practicums can be the most challenging areas. To overcome this challenge, I’ve observed the school social worker at my current position and have developed a better understanding of the daily responsibilities. I am confident that I will succeed and to be able to help and advocate for students through social work.

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