Sleepy Hollow Hispanic Scholarship Winner – Leslie Casana 

Puede encontrar una versión en español de este artículo AQUÍ.

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.  

Growing up in a Spanish-speaking Latinx family presented me with a diverse cultural foundation. However, going to school was challenging. I struggled to adapt and learn concepts in a language I hardly knew. However, growing up Hispanic in Sleepy Hollow has been rewarding because I live in a diverse town that respects all cultures and is free of prejudice. I was fortunate enough to be enrolled in a school that assists individuals who are culturally and economically disadvantaged. I was able to become fluent in English and learn about patience and how it takes time to develop new skills by becoming a part of the ENL (English as a New Language) community at such a young age.  

As a first-generation Latina woman, I’ve faced challenges, as have my family and community. My mother had to support my two younger sisters and myself. I’ve been given the responsibility of looking after my younger sisters; I’m the oldest and come from a family with a strong Hispanic culture. It’s been such a rewarding experience to watch my sisters grow up. In addition to raising my siblings, I worked as well, tutoring younger children, in order to help my mother with the bills. It has been difficult to find a balance between my personal and academic life, but I’ve managed to persevere and keep a solid GPA. There is a lot of pressure when it comes to my education because I’m expected to be the best. I know that by continuing my education, I will be able to pursue my goals. I want to show my younger sisters that education is vital, and that despite the challenges they face now, they will be able to attain their dreams, no matter how small or big, if they work hard. 

Being Latina has taught me how fortunate I am to be bilingual and to value my Dominican heritage. I am pleased with my ability to communicate in Spanish since it allows me to form more relationships and assist others when necessary. I’ve learned that hard effort pays off, and that despite the challenges that life throws at me, being surrounded by my loving Hispanic family makes it all worthwhile. I was thrilled to be considered for the Carpinone Family Scholarship because it will help me in achieving my educational goals and make my future ambitions even more attainable. 

Leslie Casana is Vice President of the senior class and secretary for the National English Honor Society. She plans on majoring in psychology, in order to become a clinical psychologist. During her free time, she enjoys reading, tutoring, and spending time with friends and family. 


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About the Author: Leslie Casana