For many students, heritage is a huge part of who they are. Some may have grown up learning about their culture and for some it may be a new thing in their life. Senior Chris Perez began learning more about who he was in eighth grade.
“I wasn’t always into my culture because I wasn’t aware of it until about eighth grade. I didn’t grow up with my Hispanic side, so I had to ask my mom questions about my family, my dad and other things. I then would research things on my own. I then knew how important it was to embrace one’s heritage and to represent it in a good light. This was easier for me since I fell in love with it all,” Perez said.
After learning more about his heritage, Perez took greater pride in it.
“I take pride in my heritage the same way that anyone else takes pride in theirs. It makes up part of who you are. More specifically, I believe that my people have always been extremely hard working and hospitable,” Perez said.
Around 2.4% of Altoona’s population is Hispanic or Latino.
“I have been posting a lot more things related to my culture. This could be traditional food that I cook, or pieces of Spanish that I put on my story. I do this because Altoona isn’t a very cultured area believe it or not. If I have the opportunity to share my culture with those around me and maybe teach them a couple things then why not. I’m proud of my culture ,and it’s fun to help my friends understand it more,” Perez said.
Perez has begun to bring his heritage into his daily life.
“For years now I’ve loved music from Mexico and other Latin American countries. I also cook Mexican food very often. I still study Spanish and am in AP Spanish currently. I try to follow people of Latin America and Mexico on social media, to see what their current culture and trends are all about. I also will try to contact kids my age from Latin America and Spain, to practice my Spanish and exchange customs. I did this through an app called HelloTalk,” Perez said.