I am older than UTSA – Hispanic Heritage month


Adriana Duran, Contributing Writer

Let me start by sharing with you my earliest memories of school. I only spoke Spanish when I first attended school. I had a lot to make up in terms of English language skills. I worked hard at learning how to speak English, only to be laughed at several years later by my fifth-grade teacher in Carrollton, Texas. She attempted to change my identity and culture by changing my name from Adriana Duran to Ann Duran. This teacher made my life difficult, and because of this, my fifth-grade experiences were both good and bad. Bad because I had my first experience of racism and being laughed at because of where I came from and how I sounded was very hurtful. Good because the discrimination shown toward me made me stronger. It made me work that much harder to speak English properly and articulate my words accurately to communicate. In doing this, I convinced myself no other teacher would ever laugh at me again.  I attended the poorest high school and district in San Antonio: Edgewood District. I studied and played hard there. I received my letterman jacket for basketball, and I made all-city second string. When I graduated in 1986, I was not college-bound with a scholarship. No, not me. Instead, I began working minimum wage jobs like most of my classmates. In 1990 I decided to attend Palo Community College, but life kept getting in the way. I started and stopped classes for almost a decade until I stopped again because I adopted a child in the year 2000.

 I tell my story to share that at the age of 53, after working at the same school for 21 years as a teacher assistant for Northside ISD will be receiving a bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies and becoming a special education teacher. Instead of laughing at my future students, I will encourage them and support them. I will guide them and motivate them; I will inspire them as I hope I have inspired you through my story. I am up for the challenge. I never gave up, always had hope and kept the faith. I am in good physical and mental shape, and I feel like I’m twenty-one years old, even though I am older than UTSA.