The best stories being published on the SNO Sites network

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The best stories being published on the SNO Sites network

Best of SNO

The best stories being published on the SNO Sites network

Best of SNO

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A starker dialect

Junior advances to speaking contest finals with second language
Rayna Christy
Junior Zaret Hermosillo moved from Mexico when she was four years old.

For many teenagers, the middle school and high school years may seem daunting and challenging. Not being able to speak the native language of the country one is living in would only add to that list of challenges. Junior Zaret Hermosillo has not only overcome those challenges, but she has succeeded in all that she has done in her new environment and language.

Originally from Chihuahua, Mexico, Hermosillo moved to the United States when she was four years old and did not know any English at the time. She lived in Port Arthur for a little bit and then moved to Orange when she was in middle school. 

“We wanted to open a restaurant and my step dad thought this would be a good location because he knew a lot of people,” Hermosillo said. “I felt pretty comfortable and excited to meet new people and learn about new things.”

After moving to the district, Hermosillo said she was able to pick up English fairly quickly because of all the people who surrounded her with support.

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“My elementary had specific teachers for students that weren’t born in an English-speaking household,” she said. 

Hermosillo had to not only adjust to a different language, but she also had to adjust to a new school, students, and community.

“It took me about one year mostly because I had to find out what truly interested me and that’s how I found the people I got along with the best,” Hermosillo said. “My favorite part of LCM is the opportunities it provides me with and the different types of people I have been able to meet. I am involved in Varsity Tennis, HOSA, Key Club, and National Honor Society.” 

According to Hermosillo, her family has pushed her to be the best that she be, in all aspects of her life.

“My family is a very close unit, and they are very important and involved in my life,” Hermosillo said. “They are what keeps me motivated and allow me to work harder. My biggest inspiration is my mom because she showed me that if you work hard anything is possible.” 

Just recently, Hermosillo participated in the Stark Reading Contest and made it to the school finals round with a speech by Eva Peron, which she read in both the English and Spanish languages.

“It felt very amazing to be part of the Stark Reading Contest finals because I think not many people have the opportunity to earn scholarship money through their school,” Hermosillo said. “I prepared by listening to the original speech in Spanish and by speaking in front of my family to know how it feels to speak while people are watching you.”

Librarian Melanie Claybar, who is the coordinator of the school finals for the Stark Reading Contest, said she had no idea that Hermosillo was not a native English speaker until days before the contest when another English teacher told her.

“She is a naturally good speaker and I’m always looking to recruit students for the contest so I’m glad she decided to try it,” Claybar said. “It’s also special when a student finds a piece they can connect with, and the Eva Peron speech was perfect for Zaret and allowed her to incorporate her first language. It was an extremely tough and close category this year. One of the judges who has been a part of our contest for years told me it was the best five speakers she’s ever seen. I hope Zaret inspires other students to step out of their comfort zone and try something like the Stark Reading Contest.”

This story was originally published on The Bear Facts on April 10, 2024.