Alejandra Aldrete shares stories of pride, dedication with Harmony Science Academy students
Young students at Harmony Science Academy in Brownsville were excited and engaged as a special guest visited their campus to present about Hispanic Heritage Month and what it means to be proud of Latino culture.
On Wednesday morning, Texas Southmost College Board of Trustee Secretary Alejandra Aldrete, M.Ed. took time to speak, present and inspire elementary school students on Harmony’s campus.
“I felt proud to be invited,” Aldrete said. “Our students in elementary school are our future leaders. We need to embrace them and embrace them now. We want them to feel proud about who they are so that they know nothing is going to stop them. It doesn’t matter what background you have. It’s about accepting who you are and owning it.”
Aldrete, who has been a part of the education sector for over a decade, showed her passion for young scholars. Her presentation included a video identifying Hispanic and Latin American nations to help students understand the bigger geographical picture.
The students also learned some new dance moves as Aldrete taught salsa moves before playing music by legendary Cuba-born Salsa artist Celia Cruz.
“I have memories of celebrating Hispanic Heritage back since I was a toddler so it’s nice to keep the tradition going,” Aldrete said. “My mother was part of the rotary club in Matamoros. We would have an annual dress-up day and parade where all the children would wear clothes from different countries.”
Aldrete’s mother, Olga Martha Aldrete, was in attendance and was recognized for her support of her daughter through the years.
Family values were a big theme of the presentation. Students jumped out of their seats when asked if they had helped their families make tamales, eaten elote or attended a Quinceanera.
Aldrete also talked about her upbringing. Like many of the students in the audience and all throughout Brownsville, she crossed the international bridge every day to achieve her education. Neither of her parents spoke English but they instilled a strong importance in perseverance.
Her mom’s favorite phrase? “Si tu quieres, tu puedes” which translates to “if you want to, you can.”
Aldrete has since graduated from high school and twice from higher education institutions with a bachelor’s and master’s degree. Along with her career in education, she began a classic car rental business and most recently won her seat on the TSC Board of Trustees in November 2020.
“Our people are very close to family. We embrace family values,” Aldrete said. “We make tamales together, and we listen to music and dance at family reunions. Sundays are very important for hispanic families as we gather together and get to spend time with our grandparents, tias, tios, cousins and other extended family as well. It’s important to touch on all of those values and traditions so that our future generations can feel proud and embrace of where we come from …. no matter where they go.”