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Posts Tagged "Hispanic Heritage"

Serving the Community in Two Languages: Meet Yuridia Hernandez-Gomez '24

May 14, 2024
By Archbishop Carroll High School

Entering high school can seem unfamiliar and overwhelming for most new students and their families. For Patriot families that don’t speak English as their first language, the whole experience-filling out paperwork, learning new routines, and meeting the rigorous expectations- can be daunting. Thankfully, students like Yuridia Hernandez-Gomez ‘24 have made themselves available to serve the Spanish-speaking community at Archbishop Carroll by providing translation services, both on campus and in the greater Dayton area.

For Yuri, translating is second nature to her everyday life. “Since I can remember, I’ve been translating,” she recalled. When a kindergarten teacher told Yuri’s mother that Yuri would likely never learn English if only Spanish was spoken at home, Yuri’s mother, a native Spanish-speaker, found ways to immerse her daughter in English-speaking situations where she would be able to hear and speak English. “My mom did everything she could so that I could be bilingual,” said Hernandez-Gomez.

Since those early days, Yuri has been translating for her parents and helping her family, originally from Mexico, through the ins and outs of life in the United States. Yuri is also proud to help her sister, Kathelin ‘26, navigate high school so that she does not have to face the steep learning curve that Yuri did.  Yuri also has been providing that assistance to other Hispanic families in the Carroll community.

“She is the glue for our native Spanish-speaking families at Carroll,” said Director of Community Engagement and Inclusion Mrs. Tara Ashworth. On many occasions, families will mention how Yuri assisted them with filling out forms, directed them where to go, and guided them through the next steps that come with the high school experience to Ashworth.

Yuri credits Ashworth for welcoming and assisting her and her family in those early years at Carroll. Now, Yuri pays it forward by offering her assistance in both Spanish and English for incoming Hispanic students and families at orientations, open houses, and other schoolwide functions. “I know what it’s like,” Yuri said, “I used to be running around having to translate for my family.”

When she is not wearing her translator hat, Yuri is still very much helping other students through her various leadership positions. She is a proud Gonzaga House Captain, and she has enjoyed planning schoolwide events. She also fondly recalled her time as a PATS Retreat leader. Like her service to the Hispanic community, she really enjoyed helping her timid peers open up and grow deeper in their relationship with Christ during their time on retreat.

This past May, Yuri was able to receive her Seal of Biliteracy, a medal awarded to students who have achieved a level of mastery in both Spanish and English. “To some people, it’s just a medal,” said Yuri. “To come from a Hispanic family, it means everything.  They had nothing, and they gave me everything.”

Following graduation, Yuri will attend Wright State University to study nursing, a path she also says is inspired by her experience translating. “I’ve translated at the hospitals for people I don’t know,” Yuri said. Like her time serving as a translator at Carroll, she has helped Spanish-speaking patients ask questions to medical professionals, fill out paperwork, and help people find where they need to go in a hospital. Because of this, she felt the call to be a nurse who could communicate with patients in both Spanish and English.

Yuri has made it her mission to work with students, parents, and now hospital patients who are apprehensive and overwhelmed by the language barriers and help provide peace and empowerment to navigate through the English-speaking situations. Looking back on how far she has come in her own English language mastery, she is very proud to share these accomplishments with her family, specifically her parents.

“All of this makes my family proud because I was told I was never going to do it, and I’ve done more than that now.”

Posted in Voices of Tomorrow

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