“Emily Bonsall, Cal State Seal of Biliteracy.”, my counselor introduced me as I walked overjoyed across the stage and received my award. In that very moment, I felt as proud as I could ever be, accomplishing something I have been dying to attain. Starting from a young age, I had always wanted to learn Spanish. My grandma only spoke Spanish and she watched and took care of me all of the time, she was my inspiration and I wanted to learn how to have a conversation with her. I made it my goal to learn Spanish to be able to talk to her. The day I received my Cal State Seal of Biliteracy award represented all of the hard work and dedication I accomplished to learn Spanish for my grandma.

I remember the day I was told I was going to receive an award. It was senior year, my last year of high school, known as the most important year. It was just another ordinary day at school, attending all of my six my classes, (the common amount of classes for seniors is four or five), with a bunch tests, busy work, readings, essays, and presentations. Exhausted from a long day at school, I went home to do all of the homework my teachers assigned, when I received an email from the school. The email stated, “You have received an award, and are invited to the Senior Awards Night.” I remember thinking to myself, “Is this a mistake? Did they send this to the right person?” I had not received an award since elementary school; high school was very difficult for me. I tried my hardest by taking many classes, more than what was required to try and raise my GPA and look good on college applications. I was an average student, there were other students who were better than me, in higher and AP classes. I looked back at the email and saw how the email was addressed to me, so it couldn’t have been a mistake. But then I started to wonder, “What award was I receiving?”

I went the next day still wondering, and asked my friends if they had gotten an email from the school stating they were invited to Senior Awards Night. They all said no, which I was surprised because all my friends are really smart and have high grades. This made me to be even more curious to what award I would receive. Senior Awards Night was later that day, I went home and got ready, my parents were already telling me how proud they were of me. I didn’t feel proud of myself. I viewed myself as average. Mostly, I was curious to what and why I was receiving an award in the first place. When we got to the school, it was packed. The theatre was full of overachieving and brilliant students. I felt out of place. I began to feel nervous, and intimidated My best guess to what award I was receiving was getting my A-G, enough classes and credits a student needs to get into college. I thought to myself, “All of these straight A students will look down on me for my A-G credits while they get honors awards.”

The night started, counselors began to introduce students and their awards. Then, my counselor went onstage. She started to announce her students and their awards, and then she finally got to me. “Emily Bonsall, Cal State Seal of Biliteracy.”, my counselor introduced me as I walked overjoyed across the stage and received my award. I began to get tears in my eyes. I had no idea they gave out awards for taking two or more foreign language classes. The award I had received was for taking Spanish classes and passing them for all of my four years in high school. When I was younger, my grandma passed away and I had made a promise and dedicated myself to learn Spanish for her. My grandma was religious, and I remember a certain day after church, my grandma and I made rosaries together and to this day, eleven years later, I still have and use the rosary. I wanted to be able to pray to her in Spanish, with no mistakes, without correcting myself, just fluent perfect Spanish with the rosary I made with her in my hand.

Receiving that award made realize that being dedicated to trying to learn Spanish was an achievement. To me, learning Spanish was a requirement. It was something I needed to do for my grandma. I took it seriously, it was something I really wanted to learn. This day changed my life. It opened my eyes about how I needed to recognize all of my achievements and to be proud of myself. Before this day, I viewed myself as average or not good enough. What I learned after this day is to recognize the little accomplishments. I took four years of dedication to learning Spanish. Taking these Spanish classes all four years was the ladder towards my goal. I learned how to speak, write, read, and listen to Spanish.

That night after all of the excitement and congratulations from my family and friends, I went to my bed, got my rosary and prayed to my grandma. I remember exactly what I said, “Hola abuela, te extraño mucho y yo quiero decir que yo te amo mucho y yo espero que usted estás orgulloso en mi. Lo hice solamente para usted.” Which translates to, “Hi grandma, I miss you so much and I want to tell you that I love you so much and I hope that you are proud of me. I did it just for you.  

My grandma is my sponsor of literacy; she has always been ever since I was young without me even knowing. Throughout my whole life, I tried to make my grandma proud. Ever since I was little, I knew that if I learned Spanish my grandma would be very proud of me, and on this very day; I did it. I finally did it.