Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) recently asked Fernando Garcia, a junior at George Washington High School and the son of immigrants from Mexico, on what National Hispanic Heritage Month means to him.
National Hispanic Heritage Month is annually celebrated from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, recognizing the contributions and influence of Hispanic Americans to the history, culture, and achievements for the United States.
Born in Smithville, North Carolina, Garcia has a strong interest in computers thanks to his involvement in his school’s information technology (IT) program. As part of his graduation requirements, Garcia participated in a summer IT internship and works at the school in IT repair. Academically, Garcia is a SPAN scholar at IUPUI, which requires him to a GPA higher than 3.0 in high school and college classes.
Q – What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?
A – First, it is a celebration of who I am. Second, it is my pride in my culture and the contributions of my ancestors. I am extremely proud of my family for immigrating to this country. Being the first generation of my family to be born in the United States gives me a lot of drive to become the best and better than everyone else.
Also being a first-generation person, I want to take advantage of the opportunities that my immigrant parents could not in their home country. My parents have worked hard every day after coming to this country with almost nothing to their name. Hispanic Heritage Month is something that my family and friends celebrate because, like me, they are proud of being Hispanic.
Q – What do you think people should know about being Hispanic
A – Being Hispanic is an honor. Remember to always stand strong and never let anyone stand in your way of expressing your identity. Hispanics are just as capable and sometimes even better than everyone else in this country. People like my father, mother, aunts, uncle, and other Hispanic people in the community have worked hard to become successful through the American dream.
Q – Your parents are from Mexico, but you were born in North Carolina. What is it like to be a Hoosier now?
A – Being a Hoosier is incredible because there are many opportunities here in Indianapolis and at school. When I first came to Indianapolis, I was unsure whether I would fit in. But once I started school and started making friends, I realized that this place isn’t as bad as I thought it would be.
Once I reached high school at George Washington , I heard about the opportunities that this school could offer like IT Career Pathways, Modern Apprenticeship, and IUPUI SPAN. This made me realize that I was in the right place where I needed to be. Fast forward to my joiner year, I know that moving to Indiana was one of the best decisions in my life.
Q – What is the best thing about the Hispanic student group at your school?
A – The Hispanic student group at my school is that they are one of the most hard-working people in my school in my opinion. Even the ones with language barrier issues are the most willing to learn. The smartest people I know are Hispanics and immigrants from other countries. So, I am proud of the Hispanic students at my school.
Q – Why are you interested in information technology? What do you want to do with it?
A – The reason that I chose IT as my career pathway is that ever since I was little, I have always been fascinated by technology—specifically computers. But my parents were never able to afford computers and other devices due to us living paycheck to paycheck. When I started the first grade, I was instantly hooked on the computers that were available in my class and the library. Whenever I had the chance to use computers, I would always see to the capability of the computer like searching for random facts to increase my knowledge. Since then, I have tried to learn more about computers as well as programming. Someday, I want to do with IT is hopefully build a successful IT company in the future.