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The Carpinone family, owners of Dwyer & Michael’s Funeral Home in Tarrytown, has established a scholarship for Hispanic students at Sleepy Hollow High School. This is the fourth of six essays written by the scholarship winners.
“We’re going to the 11 a.m. Mass!” shouted my mom from the kitchen table. I sprang up from my bed and quickly rushed to the kitchen. Once I arrived, I was met with my favorite breakfast, mote pillo, an Ecuadorian dish made of eggs, onions, garlic, and cilantro. Growing up in Tarrytown, I encountered this dish at multiple Ecuadorian restaurants near me. However, my mom had perfected the recipe and insisted that the only mote pillo enjoyed would come from her kitchen. Her excuse was that it was the only mote pillo in the world made with her love. After eating breakfast, our family made their way to church. The Sunday morning Mass was the highlight of my week as I was liberated from the constant cycle of translating.
For six days of the week, I was the designated translator for my parents. At a young age, I took on adult responsibilities as my parents relied on me to translate documents, conversations, and fill out job applications. My parents who were both born in Ecuador did not have the opportunity to learn proper English; meaning that they write and speak in broken English. I have witnessed the daily hardships they endure and am grateful that they have dedicated most of their lives to raising me into a strong and independent woman. However, at the Sunday Mass I didn’t need to fulfill the role of a translator. Instead, I was able to admire the church’s intricate paintings, statues, and quietly converse with any child who was near me. As I looked around, I took notice of the people surrounding me. This was my community, a community in which I felt safe as many of the people surrounding me looked and spoke like me. For that one hour sitting in the pews, I was able to just be a nine-year-old girl.
Over the last few months, I have used this childhood experience to guide me throughout the college process. Soon I will be pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Latin American studies to further advance my knowledge of the impact Hispanic communities have in America and Central/South American countries. Following this, I hope to go to law school and study immigration law. Not only will I have the privilege to help my parents, but I will have the opportunity to empower the children of immigrants to pursue their dreams.
Cisnia Albarracinis graduated from Sleepy Hollow High School as a High Honor Roll student and member of the National Honor Society and the Latin American Student Organization. She’s a mentor at the Sleepy Hollow Academy for Disability Education and secretary for the Youth Advisory Board at Kids’ Club of Tarrytown.