“Regaining My Identity, The Unique Insights of Being Bilingual” Tech Senior Dagney Ochoa’s Speech Upon Earning the CA Seal of Biliteracy

“Good evening/afternoon my name is Dagney Ochoa, and I’m a senior at Oakland Technical high school and will be attending UC Berkeley in the fall.

For me, obtaining the Seal of Biliteracy is a very important accomplishment, and I can imagine that a lot of us feel the same way about it. I learned English when I was in second grade. After realizing in high school that I was having a hard time speaking my native language, I decided to take Spanish courses to not only develop myself more in the language but be able to communicate with my parents and learn parts of my Latina heritage and history that I had not been previously exposed to.

As I learned more about the history of my culture and other Hispanic cultures, I began to regain control of my identity. After exposing myself to this, I soon realized the identity struggle I had experienced trying to manage and incorporate myself in both the Spanish and English language and the culture within each one, as I had difficult time understanding and accepting that these two essential aspects of my identity and culture could potentially coexist.

Learning that my two cultures could coexist, allowed me to understand myself, as I became more aware of how we sometimes unconsciously neglect part of our culture or our identity in an effort to excel in a language that is outside of our own. When in reality, being bilingual or bicultural gives us a unique insight into the world around us. Understanding this has also helped me want to apply being bilingual and from two different cultures directly into the fields that I want to study.

As I am planning to work in the psychology and neuroscience field, I hope to apply how being from a different race, ethnicity, or being bicultural impacts your state of mind, and development to further help my community.

For me obtaining the Seal of Biliteracy awards just this, the trajectory of excelling in two or more languages and awards the biculturalism and bilingualism that I have developed. It will continue to bring me insight into my community by being an active member and helping people understand the aspects of my culture, of being bilingual or bicultural that sometimes is not taken into consideration, to help us understand the diversity within our community, and better understand each other.

You can see the video here

This is a cross post from the brilliant and committed folks at the OUSD ELLMA Office, check out their other stories and please support their incredible work.

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