Deep Culture Exploration Emilia Mendiola- Walsh

My dad is 1/2 Korean and 1/2 Irish. My mom is full Mexican.

I was born in Manhattan, KS and raised in Junction City, KS. A community more on the rural side.

My grandma immigrated to America in her 20s. All other sides of my family have been here for generations.

I would say my family is middle/working class. We live comfortably.

I am the first in my family to attend a 4-year university

Growing up, I heard a lot of stories about my mother's grandfather.

Family traditions include my grandmas spaghetti sauce and my grandpas chili. We celebrate typical American holidays.

Heroes celebrated in my house were my moms grandfather and Wonder Woman who my mom idolized since she was young.

My family "dicho" is "you make your own decisions. Sort of like an "I told you so!"

My family often likes to tell stories about my sister and I when we were young. They communicate a message of love.

My parents raised me that respect looks like being kind to others. Putting others needs before my own.

I was trained to console people when they cried. To return happiness. And to read a persons body cues when they're angry.

I was taught to be polite and proper with authority figures. Using ma'am and sir with strangers.

I called any adults I didn't know sir or ma'am. My friends parents, I called Mr. or Mrs. (Insert first name) once I got to know them, but I always began with the last name.

My parents always got on my sister and I for talking back to them. I don't think I can say I ever talked back to another adult.

With time I've definitely developed better relationships with my family. Especially my sisters. The three of us live in different states but remain close.

I think collaboration is very important. Students should be able to work in groups and out of their desks as much as possible. When I was younger, I loved doing lessons outside, in the library, or in the gym. Anything outside the normal classroom setting felt more fun and engaging. I also really like all class discussions. Socratic circles were my favorite. I like the thought of student lead activities, and I always had teachers who only got involved when we needed a prompt or help getting conversation along.

At some point in later elementary, I was first given the figures of how different races average on the state assessments. I remember always struggling to decide which race I would check off for myself because I wasn't quite sure how that worked and with three different races I was confused. I think I often chose "other". The results also confused me because Asians rank higher while Hispanics rank lower, I was both.

I never really thought about intelligence beginning at birth. I definitely never thought it was genetic though because I always excelled at school while my sister struggled. There was also a set of twins in my classes K-12 who were the same way. With my diverse school setting and military influence, I never saw a reflection of race or cultural background directly correlated with success in school.

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