Maren Sanchez – A Young Latina's Unfulfilled Promise


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Photo: WTNH TV8
A high school along a New England shore town. Myriad students making their way to their next class. Then the unimaginable occurs. She’s met by the insidious knife of an unstable teenage male. Maren is the ultimate victim. Yet the repercussions are far-reaching and affect us all. Once again, sinister violence has made its way into the halls of a Connecticut school. We teachers are in anguish. We teachers are enraged.
Because Maren Sanchez represented all things that young Latinas in the United States are striving to become: the honor roll student, a leader in sports, well-liked by her peers, and more importantly, ready to add a diverse voice in college-level discourse. Ms. Sanchez was in the midst of her game, dispelling the stereotypes that come with a Hispanic surname: pregnant at 15, high school dropout, poor and academically tracked into lower-level classes.
We teachers shake our heads and stay up at night wondering, “Why the star pupil? Why the one who was spearheading change and dispelling the stereotypical myths of what a teenaged Latina looks and acts like?”
Then Monday rolls around, and we teachers are expected to teach. Our students are expected to learn. We write up lesson plans in raw grief. We think of Maren’s empty seat. We figure out a new seating arrangement. As if the students will not notice.
A solemn “good-morning” is offered to a colleague in the hall and we walk into the teacher’s lounge to see a male teacher hunched over in uncontrollable sobs because 16-year-old Maren has left her indelible mark.
But now, Maren Sanchez has been physically displaced, she’s left behind “internet DNA” that her friends can now find when they click to her Facebook page.
She’s left behind a single strand of brown hair that managed to cling to the purchased prom dress that I could only imagine was tried on at least a dozen times.
Ms. Sanchez leaves a wound that no parent should ever bear. She won’t graduate from high school, move on to higher education, or succeed in a career.
Like Vicki Soto, the Stratford Latina teacher gunned down in the Sandy Hook tragedy, Maren Sanchez has made her way into yet…
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