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The Transformational Impact of Latino Student Fund

Guest post by Sofia Hermoza, a Latino Student Fund scholar

Sofia was invited by the Latino Student Fund to speak at their annual VIP reception at the residency of the ambassador of Peru.

Hello! I am Sofia Hermoza, a senior at the National Cathedral School, a chorister at the National Cathedral, and a proud Peruvian.

I am grateful for many blessings that I have had throughout my life. I was born in Peru and at just three years old, we moved to the USA. Flashforward 15 years, I am a mere month away from graduation, the culmination of years of hard work and landmarks in my early life. And since the beginning of this journey, Latino Student Fund has been there. I have been going to their events for as long as I can remember: whether it be at the annual ceremony, waiting with all the other students backstage until they call our names, getting together in the fall, drinking apple cider and going in corn mazes, or just meeting new people at these events. I am honored to have been given this opportunity today to share my gratitude for the path that my life has taken.

Though, to better explain my gratitude, I thought it would be best to start at the beginning:

We had just recently arrived in the USA in 2007: my little sister just under a year old, I had just learned how to talk. My parents came to the USA seeking a better education for my sister and me. In search of that education, they encountered a school fair ran by Latino Student Fund, a room filled with booths representing many potential schools each holding a different future for us. As a 3-year-old, I probably did not want to be there listening to a bunch of adults talk, though with no idea of the weight their words held, determining my future. My parents applied to several elementary schools for me, and I ended up going to Beauvoir Elementary School. Unknowingly, that began the adventure that has been the last 14 years of my life on the National Cathedral Close, or as many call it, simply “The Close.” I continued on to go to NCS, the National Cathedral School in 2013 and joined the Cathedral Choristers in 2016. Next year, I plan on attending Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee as a Music Business major, something I would not have thought of studying if it were not for my time in the Cathedral Choir and at NCS. I am excited to continue to pursue my passions but of course, graduation is bittersweet by having to say goodbye to the places and people that have supported me and built my foundation as a student, musician, and person.

Apart from getting to know basically every corner of the Cathedral over 14 years, the Close has taught me how to read and write, how to be sincere and kind, introduced me to my closest friends, instilled my love for music, and given me so many more life lessons that will guide me for a lifetime and worthwhile memories that I’ll cherish for many years to come. Turns out it was worth the 45-minute commute every morning.

I am eternally grateful for my time on the Close which would not have been possible without my parents walking into that school fair all those years ago. So, thank you Latino Student Fund because you have changed my life as with many others.

Latino Student Fund is part of the Crimsonbridge Foundation’s Education Imperative program, which takes a whole-community approach to increasing Hispanic family engagement and student enrollment in Catholic schools. Crimsonbridge partners with the Latino Student Fund to increase the availability of partial scholarships for new students to attend Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Washington.


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