Latina Sisters Aimed High, Defying Low Expectations : NPR: When Linda Hernandez was growing up in Lincoln, Neb., in the 1960s, her family was one of the few Latino families in town. And that sometimes made school life difficult, she says.
"We had to sit in the back of the class and stay after school and clean the erasers when the other kids didn't have to do that," says Linda, now 60. "But both my parents laid down the law and said, 'You had to go to school.' "
Linda and her older sister, Marta, did well academically. But the school's expectations were low. The school counselor told them not to worry about taking the SAT or ACT tests "because we were Hispanic women, [and] all we would do is have babies," Linda told StoryCorps in Albuquerque, N.M.
"So we went home and we told our parents, and my mother went in the back room and cried," Linda says. "And then that's when my brother said, 'Uh-uhn, it ain't happening.' We were very lucky that he was over 6 feet tall. So he walked us down to school and told our high school counselors, 'My sisters will take the test.' "