You never know where one classroom assignment can lead you.
For Luis Gonzalez, an NC State Poole College of Management junior majoring in business administration with a concentration in supply chain management, it was an assignment in his M100 course – the introductory course for all Poole College undergraduate students – that led to an invitation to join a committee. And that led to his role in the creation of a series of panels now on display at Nelson Hall, as part of Poole College’s Latinx Month celebration.
The exhibit, Dreams and Stories – Sueños y Cuentos – showcases the reflections of five Poole College students about the value gained from their parents and their Latinx heritage. The panels are in a display case on the third floor of Nelson Hall, near the auditorium.
“Tayah Butler saw a video I made in M-100 about what I wanted to do in my career and she reached out to me to join her committee,” he said in an email interview with Poole College communications. That committee is part of the Diversity and Inclusion program that Butler leads at Poole College.
“As someone that truly values diversity and inclusion, and the importance of it in business, I didn’t hesitate to accept,” Gonzalez said.
“When we were planning the year as a group during a coaching retreat, people were volunteering to lead certain events or special months. Being a proud Hispanic and a big admirer of other Hispanic cultures as well, I really wanted to be the lead on anything we would be creating for this special month – Latinx Heritage Month,” he said.
To begin planning, he said, “We sent out an email to a large group of students that identify as Hispanic. The students that responded first and were willing to be interviewed and be a part of the process were chosen.”
“The students (represented) in that exhibit are all very passionate and proud of their culture and families and really engaged in this project,” Gonzalez said. Their reflections are helping to make the display “as special as it is,” he said.
The collection includes one panel describing Latinx Month and five that provide insight into the values that the Poole College Latinx students who participated said they had gained from their families.
“Even though I was aware of the impact that my culture and heritage have had on me, to be able to see that same impact on others from their own heritage was powerful,” Gonzales said.
“It was special getting to see the entire process, from a light bulb moment in Mrs. Butler’s office to the complete and beautiful exhibit. Mrs. Butler’s unwavering dedication and passion for making sure all cultures and people are heard – plus the commitment of all members of the student team – is a big reason why this was successful,” he said.
The exhibit is part of a month-long Hispanic Heritage Month celebration at Poole College, part of the campus-wide celebration that runs from September 15 to October 15.
Latinx Month at Poole College
At Poole College, the celebration began with a Barrio Party held at Nelson Hall on September 18, with Latinx-owned food companies providing samples of various ethnic foods representing Mexican, Puerto Rican and other cultures.
“My heritage, my culture, and my values are part of who I am,” Gonzalez said. “They come with me when I leave home for school and when I get back. They will also be with me when I begin my career in the business world and will be an integral to my success,” he said.
“I would love to use any success I have during my career to also lift up with me my fellow Latinx community, so that the world can continue to see the value and impact we can have on the world,” he said.
”Mrs. Butler and my fellow D & I (Diversity and Inclusion) committee members are all so important to making all these events work,” he said.
About the term Latinx
There are multiple terms, often used interchangeably, to describe diverse Latinx communities, Butler explains. The term Latinx has emerged as a pan-ethnic, socio-political category intended to include any and all who may self-identify as having cultural ties to Latin America and/or the Caribbean. It is a gender-inclusive term where the –x replaces a traditional – a or -o ending and can be pronounced as lah-teen-ex.
View the following to hear from the students about their experience with this project, and read summaries from their panel displays.
Maria & Jesus Antelis | Mexico
Putting family first is a cultural trait that (my parents) definitely instilled in me and my sisters. Evidence of their impact can be seen through my involvement with Camp Kesem, which provides services for children with a parent who has been diagnosed with cancer. Maria has also impacted her children through her loving and accepting nature to all forms of diversity. Her strong religious faith is also important when describing her influence on us, her children. My strong admiration for my father comes from his never quit attitude. When tasked with something that I may not particularly like, (he) taught me to still deliver with full effort. Just like I have been impacted by my parents, I hope to impact others, specifically in the Latinx community. I hope to instill similar cultural values in my family – that I learned from my own. – As told by Rocio Antiles, business administration and international studies
Dorette Headley | Panama
“If you’re going through hell, keep going.” Dorette constantly reminds me of this powerful Winston Churchill quote as a form of encouragement. Being raised in Panama by the empowering presence of her mother, Dorette – the oldest in her family – developed a strong personality that would serve as a mold for me. Coming to America at the age of 18 … my mother has been the most influential and impactful person for me. Her story and … is really inspiring. – As told by Natalia Blount, Bachelor of Arts in Economics, entrepreneurship minor
Noilda Molina | Guatemala
Despite obstacles, Noilda always found a way to get her family ahead. (Her) sacrifice inspires me to work hard and always live vivaciously. Noilda’s uplifting story of sacrifice and tenacity has given me purpose and a stairway to reach any goal I set my mind to.” – As told by Natalien Zepeda-Molina
Patricia and Luis Gonzalez, Sr. | Mexico
Their motto for life can best be described as ‘garra’ or grit. Garra embodies the notion of total perseverance, a concept that runs deep in our household. Patricia embodies a confidence that shows true self-acceptance. My Dad’s emphasis on the importance of family values and maximizing opportunities continues to mold me into (being) a more diverse and strong individual.” – As told by Luis Gonzales, Jr. Business administration major, supply chain concentration
Raul Yepez | Ecuador
Love, laughter and living life to the fullest is only a small chapter in Raul Yepez’s life. Making the most of his opportunities, coupled with an intense work ethic, Raul proved success is possible for anyone, no matter where you start. His granddaughter especially admires the importance he set on being financially responsible. He passed away in August 2017, but leaves behind a strong legacy. – As told by Lila Joyce, business administration major, entrepreneurship concentration
Amador and Martha Hernandez | Mexico
“In a conversation with my parents, I asked ‘If you could have studied in college, what would you have done?’ Electrical engineering was his father’s reply; accounting, his mother’s. “What they dreamed to do, we get to do for them. They have both been so important to me as role models.” – As told by Josue Hernandez, business administration major, supply chain concentration