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High School Latinx Counternarratives

Experiences in School and Post-graduation


Juan A. Ríos Vega

This book represents an ethnographic study of the experiences and counternarratives of twelve Latinx young adults. All of the participants in this study are first generation immigrants to the United States, representing different cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds and immigration statuses. Drawing from Latino Critical Theory (LatCrit) and Queers of Color Epistemologies as a theoretical framework, this book analyzes the personal experiences of Latinx during and after finishing high school. This book uses a classroom project (dialogue journals) to reconnect with twelve former English language learners (ELLs) from the Southeast after ten years. Through the use of dialogue journals as an English as a second language (ESL) strategy to support writing, the participants in this book document personal and communal experiences as Latinx immigrants in the United States. This book will represent an excellent asset for teachers, school administrators, counselors, staff, preservice teachers, practicing educators, graduate students, scholars, and policymakers.

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Chapter Four Post-High School


Post-High School

My Goals in Life

I have many goals in my life, but the first one is to finish high school to go to college because I want to be an engineer or an architect. I want to go to college not because my family wants me to go, but because I want to go to college. I want to go to college because I want to have a better future for me and my family. Finally, I want to be a baseball player because that’s my favorite sport. (Santiago’s journal)

When Santiago wrote his journal entry, his goals of attending college and becoming a professional were very clear since he wanted to please his parents. Also, like many Dominican boys, he wanted to become a professional baseball player. However, all of his aspirations and dreams get broken once he started attending a local community college where he experienced invisibility and racism from his professors. These bad experiences led him to drop out and start working at a local auto parts store.

Reconnecting with some of my former students after 10 years allowed us to bring back memories about their school experiences and challenges. During our interviews, we caught up about families, friends, and new families. It was also ←83 | 84→painful for me as I chose to hold the interviews at a local library, which I used to visit when I first moved to North Carolina. However, I was eager...

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