Kern County youth speaks up about which cultures they identify with

September 25, 2018 /

Cultures help define the identities of regions, neighborhoods and people, and there’s no shortage of them throughout Kern County. Some identify as part of broad ethnic cultures driven by heritage, like being a Latino or African American, while others fit themselves into smaller sub-cultures, like being a farmhand or oilfield worker. We asked four youths throughout Kern County to tell us about the cultures they identify with the most. Here’s what they had to say:

Leslie Janet Fernandez


“Music is my culture, and has always played an important role in my life. I’ve always been able to rely on music when I am upset or just need some cheering up. Music, for me, is not only pleasure for the brain, but also for the heart. Music influences and motivates. It can prevent you from doing things you normally don’t do. There’s songs that are about not giving up, and others about life.” —Leslie Janet Fernandez


Victoria Nichole Becerril

“Being part of the culture at Grimmway Academy was an honorable experience that impacted my life tremendously. Teachers at Grimmway Academy are not just staff — they became our second parents who we established trust with, and they guided us. They have taught me failure is inevitable, and that the most important lesson is learning to accept your mistakes and strive to become better. This incredible school has taught me how to grow into the world and to become someone.” —Victoria Nichole Becerril

Michelle Haley Olivia


“In the GATE community, we students face problems everyday. Students who are in this program face issues, how outsiders see us, what we value in each other, and what GATE means to the individual. GATE stands for Gifted and Talented Education. You have tons of stress built up, around finals and can become overwhelmed. Regular class teachers think because you are in GATE that you are invincible.” —Michelle Haley Olivia


Jennifer Serrano

“I have been in the Associated Student Body for four years now, and I proudly consider it be one of my cultures. In ASB we think of ways to build a better campus, so everybody feels like they’re part of a family. My culture is a family full of inspired leaders in a small town. We are constantly finding ways on how to make our school a better place. Last year, my school was constantly having fights. Our ASB quickly came to a solution to have a “Kindness Week”. For the whole week we wore yellow shirts with smiley faces. We passed around stickers, kind notes, erasers, and much more. The fights slowly began to diminish and this year, they’re rare and even more rare to be posted on social media! If I had a magic wand, I would love to provide our ASB with more spirited days and more money.” —Jennifer Serrano