Every year as part of the annual Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration, we invite high school students from Middle Tennessee to participate in the essay and multimedia contest for young Latino writers. The purpose of this contest is to listen to the voices of young people reflecting on the theme “My Hispanic Roots, My American Dream.”

All four finalists received a prize, and the grand prize winner received a laptop. Gracias to this year’s essay contest sponsor, Nashville Soccer Club.

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Grand Prize Winner

Ximena Martínez-Segoviano

Junior—University School of Nashville

Just like any other person, I have things that I wish I could have changed from my past. We didn’t live in the best of situations; even though my parents both were working multiple jobs, we hardly had enough to pay for our necessities. Despite the uncontrollable circumstances my family and I went through, there was one thing that kept me afloat: my father. 

Finalist

Perla Martínez-López

Sophomore—LEAD Academy

I don’t know first hand what it is like to be a single mother in the United States with five children to take care of and feed. But I do know how it looks, and I know that it is hard. I don’t resent my mother for what she could not give me, I am grateful. For my mother, it was not an American Dream. For her, it was a promise. A promise that everything would be better, but she had to work very hard for her dreams, and that is the reality.

Finalist

Mixi Hernandez

Junior—Smith County High School

Being a latina is more than just being of latin dissent. Being latina to me means that I am hardworking, dedicated, independent, and no matter what anyone says I am strong. Being a woman who is latina is hard, but I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Finalist

Ludmila Salguero-Tobar

Sophomore—LEAD Academy

Right now I’m not fluent in English and Spanish is part of my identity. But I dream that someday English can be part of my identity too, that it becomes a result of my effort. I’m proud of all my goals I have been able to achieve and I’m proud of how much English I’ve learned. I’m so grateful with my family and especially God. My culture is always going to have a special space on my heart; it is one of the things that makes me special. Nuestros sueños y cultura is what makes America great.