Latino graduates identify with two cultures |

Latino graduates identify with two cultures

Frank Fisher, of the Record staff

Twelve Latino students graduated on Dozier Field Friday part of the Park City High School class of 2007. But with the immigration bill stalled in Congress and some with concern of deportation, do they feel more American, or will they do they identify more with their heritage.

Nora Buchanan, the Latino Outreach councilor for the Park City School District, said that most of the students came to Park City around the age of six. She said every immigrant struggles. "Adaptation time is hard for everybody facing a new language and culture.

She said that some may only have a driver privilege card, "an embarrassment for kids. They feel as American as the next kid. These kids go to football games and they graduate."

Buchanan said that that Latino parents have a different cultural outlook, which she sees as traditional, compared with their children, who may have taken on American outlooks, which can create an identity friction in families.

Ana Granados, who was born in the U.S., said, "I’m 100 percent Mexican. "I feel like an immigrant. Sometimes people treat us like were different because of the color of our skin. It’s kind of hard if you’re the only Latino in the class. But I’m very grateful for what this country (United States) had given me. I love the U.S, but my country is Mexico." But she said she would like to marry An American.

On the classroom wall of Park City High English Language Learner teacher Anna Williams is a message she lives by. "It is not our differences that divide us. Is our inability to recognize, accept and celebrate those differences," Andre Lord.

"these kids are straddling two cultures. They don’t fit into either one," Williams said, adding, "but they’re trying to fit in every respect."

Graduate Mauricio Lopez, who was awarded two community scholarships, one of them for overcoming obstacles. He was born in Peru. His Mother died when he was six. His father brought him and his sister to the United States in 2006, and they moved to Park City eight months ago to live with an aunt. Lopez plans to go to Salt Lake Community College, and then transfer to the University of Utah.

I like the U.S. very much. I’m Peruvian, but I appreciate that Americans are trying to help. They care about society."

Jose Santana was awarded three community scholarships before he graduated from PCHS.

"I came to Park City when I was 12," he said. If I had to go return to Mexico, it would be really hard. I love American people, and I have a great admiration for them, but I’m proud to be Mexican. I observe both cultures. I try to blend into both."

Santana said he sees himself eventually marrying an American.

Tony Yapias, director of Proyecto Latino de Utah, provides services and information to Latinos. "All of the kids are in limbo until Congress passes the Immigration act," he said.

Even if immigration laws pass, their will still likely be an identity question that will linger well into future generations.