Michael Salas and Adriana Aguilar are a student and mentor from FIRST Robotics Competition Team 2468: Appreciate in Texas. In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, we asked them to tell us more about empowering moments in Hispanic History and what the month means to them.
Michael Salas, Student
Q: Name a significant or inspiring moment or person in Hispanic history and how it impacts and empowers you today.
A: When I lived in Spain in 2010, Spain had made it to the world cup final. I remember watching the match with all my family crammed in a tiny apartment in Punta Umbria. In the dying moments of extra time Iniesta scored the winning goal causing the country to erupt in celebration with fireworks going off right next to our apartment. The passion and unity felt across Spain at that moment was really awe inspiring for me and is still something I take pride in.
Adriana Aguilar, Mentor
Q: What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?
A: Hispanic Heritage Month is important to me because it is a time to celebrate and connect to my cultural heritage. Being bi-cultural, identity has always been a tricky concept for me. Growing up, I was constantly redefining and conceptualizing my identity. I always felt that I wasn't "Hispanic enough" because I was only half-Hispanic or because Spanish wasn't my native language. I often felt like I didn't belong to different peer groups because I wasn't fully White or fully Hispanic. I was constantly trying to justify how Hispanic I was, but I still never felt like I could own the label of Hispanic or that I had earned the right to that identity. As society has changed and so has my understanding of identity, I no longer feel the need to justify my heritage. I am Hispanic, and I love learning about and connecting with my Hispanic roots!