On Monday, September 26, 2016, the Rochester Academy Charter School's middle school celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month, during an assembly with successful members of our community.
Our Dean of Academics, Jennifer Doyle, reminded us all at the start of the assembly, of the many important contributions that Latinos and Latinas in our country and here in Rochester have made for us all. Doyle inspired us with a simple challenge, to "go to college, get an education, and improve your neighborhood". Regardless of our cultural back grounds, we all have a responsibility to better ourselves and our community around us.
We are so thankful that members of the Rochester Black Bar Association could present and discuss their passion for law, their upbringing, and their journey to success.
Aaron Frazier, an Attorney from Harris Beach, began the presentation "Black & Latino Attorneys in Roc & Beyond" by introducing all other members of Monday's assembly. Frazier spoke about his life as a student, growing up in the very same community as our school, and the experiences that he had that shaped him to become an attorney in commercial litigation. Frazier told our students to remain passionate and hopeful about the future because "where you start does not determine where you finish."
Also from Harris Beach, Luis Ormaechea, a native of Argentina, spoke about his passion for intellectual property litigation, engaging our students with questions about the types of symbols we see on products we like and buy. Ormaechea's background as a biology teacher and interest in the growing field of genetics, ultimately led him to a career in law protecting the ideas of innovators.
From the Rochester Public Defenders office, our last two guests were Attorney Micheal Lopez and Family Court Judge Maritza Buitrago.
Micheal Lopez is an attorney in Criminal law, representing people who have been arrested and cannot afford a lawyer. Lopez immediately asked our students, "Do you like to argue?" Hands shot up into the air! Lopez confessed that he was never the perfect student however his love of arguing led him down the path of law. With hard work and determination, everyone of our #racschool students, "have the ability to be a lawyer", said Lopez.
Maritza Buitrago, a native of Puerto Rico, is an attorney of Family Law and a candidate for Monroe County Family Court. There has never been a Hispanic Judge elected in our Family Court in Rochester.
Buitrago spoke about her unique perspective of the court room growing up as the daughter of a judge. She mentioned a tragedy of domestic violence in her community that cemented her journey for law. Like Ormaechea, Buitrago was also a teacher before attending law school. She now represents clients in domestic violence and divorce cases. Buitrago urged our students to pursue their goals no matter what obstacles may be in the way. "A friend told me, you're going to fail, and I made it."