Weslaco High grad wins national bilingual essay contest with ‘A Wild Tongue’

Weslaco High School graduate Carolina De Anda’s essay titled “A Wild Tongue” won first place in a student writing contest hosted by the National Association for Bilingual Education.

“Now, while I navigate my timeless and endless soup of words, they fear my wild tongue,” De Anda wrote in her winning piece submitted in the Bilingual Student Essay Competition. “A box … a box they have tried to squeeze me in and tape it shut — where I will never fit. Because I am Chicana-Mexicana and Americana.

“In this black and white world, I stay in the gray.”

The piece explores how having an identity tied to both English and Spanish will inform her future. De Anda immigrated to the United States in eighth grade, attending McAllen High School before starting her sophomore year in Weslaco.

“… Two languages are awareness of different social realities which serve as a foundation to walk in the road of life with my endeavor in mind,” De Anda writes. “Being bilingual is like having two souls, two lives, two cultures, two languages, two sets of opportunities that mutually work in tandem to create myself, not find it.”

Weslaco High teacher Monica Sifuentes, De Anda’s former English teacher, complemented her drive and passion in a news release.

“Her essay was beautifully written,” Sifuentes said.

De Anda graduated from Weslaco in last month with an associate’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from South Texas College. She plans to continue her studies at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in the fall.

She was invited to the NABE Conference Awards on March 8 in Orlando, Florida. The prize for first place is $500.

Read her full essay.