Daniela Pope ~ Senior Story

We live in a world where most people want to belong to something greater than themselves. The desire to belong can create groups that despise other groups being different. As a Mexican-American with Caucasian and Latina heritage, I see myself as a special creation of diverse heritage. I empathize with the desire to feel belonging to each group, but I think of myself as the product of cultures, not as a bystander apart from the mainstream. 

Since I entered high school, I have met a variety of mixed-race people. It is one of the most beautiful things in the world to not feel pressured to be the perfect example of one culture or the other but to be accepted as one whole, unified being. As a young girl becoming a young woman, my initial thoughts of self-doubt were damaging because I had not yet developed a sense of myself, a sense of how I could find my own way in a world that craves uniformity. Trinity offered me the chance to meet and interact with inspirational peers and teachers alike who were shining examples of how to live authentically. It never occurred to me that I could belong not to a group of people, but to myself alone. In that sureness of self, I am able to give of myself and my talents in the knowledge that who I am, my genuine self, is never lost in translation.  

Daniela Pope, Hauser Junior High, Riverside
The University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign