by Reyna Monique Vasquez
(Note: On October 15, twelve students, recommended by their teachers for embodying the “Definite Dozen” leadership qualities adopted by Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos Puerto Rican H.S., attended an Honor breakfast with Marvin Garcia, the President of the Board of Directors of the school. The following is an excerpt of a speech by Senior Reyna Vasquez (who attended the breakfast) which she delivered at the school’s Unity assembly later that same day.)
I was one of the twelve students who attended the Definite Dozen breakfast this morning. I knew I was invited for a reason. The twelve of us, including Matt (Principal Matthew Rodriguez) walked to Nelly’s for breakfast. When we got there, Mr. Marvin Garcia, President of our schools Board of Directors, walked in as a humble man and said, “Let’s eat first, I’m sure we’re all hungry.” Afterward, we got into a circle where Matt gave everyone, including myself, a reason for our recognition. I was proud of myself to hear what some staff had to say about me.
We all introduced ourselves to Mr. Marvin Garcia, as he did the same. He asked a question that seemed simple, “Do you belong here?” At first, I thought, “Duhhh, I got invited.” But after thinking about it, I said to myself, “Yes, of course I belong here. I’m here for a reason and only time can tell. I’ve been through some things some couldn’t even imagine and I’m still standing here today.” I told myself, “I deserve this and any good that comes my way.”
What I want to say to the school community is that, breakfast with the President of our school’s Board of Directors was very important to me. It was that extra step closer to what I want to achieve. That’s success. I believe we all deserve success. I don’t wish failure on my worse enemy. And for that, I challenge every friend, acquaintance, stranger, or even hater of mine to take that extra step. Jump out of your comfort zone and truly be the best that you can be. What I’m trying to say is if I can take my J’s off, throw some make up on, and look presentable, so can you. I belong here. I believe I belong any place I step my foot in because I’m no less of a human than any of you are. If I can do it, you can do it too.