Skip to main content

Search the Special Collections and Archives Portal

Patricia Vazquez interview, November 14, 2018, June 14, 2019: transcript






Session 1: Interviewed by Marcela Rodriguez-Campo. Barbara Tabach also participates in the questioning. Session 2: Interviewed by Rodrigo Vazquez. Monserrath Hernandez also participates in the questioning. Patricia Vazquez was born and raised in Las Vegas, NV and shares her experiences growing up in the Valley as a Queer Latina. At a young age, she remembers traveling back and forth between Mexico and the U.S. to visit family. When she started school she shares how her home language, Spanish, became her family's "secret language" as she began to learn English. During elementary school Patricia was tracked into the special education program, and remove from the mainstream classroom. She would find her love for learning in books and libraries as she taught herself how to read in English. Despite being tracked into less advanced courses, Patricia would end up taking AP/ Honors courses in high school after forging her favorite teachers signature, which changed her educational trajectory. After coming out to her family, Patricia went nearly a decade distanced from her mother and continued her college education at Arizona State University. There, she would complete a bachelors in painting and a masters in comparative literature. Her work with the Chicano Studies program at ASU helped her develop her Chicana identity and begin her involvement in social activism. In Las Vegas, she worked to fight for marriage equality and LGBTQ rights with the American Civil Liberties Union , and later with the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada. She also conducted several lectures for the Latino Youth Leadership Conference on sexuality, gender, and homophobia for over a decade. She has served as an English Professor at the College of Southern Nevada for the last 20 years and is an avid hiker, traveler, and painter.

Digital ID


Physical Identifier



Vazquez, Patricia Interview, 2018 November 11 and 2019 June 14. OH-03514. [Transcript]. Oral History Research Center, Special Collections and Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.


This material is made available to facilitate private study, scholarship, or research. It may be protected by copyright, trademark, privacy, publicity rights, or other interests not owned by UNLV. Users are responsible for determining whether permissions are necessary from rights owners for any intended use and for obtaining all required permissions. Acknowledgement of the UNLV University Libraries is requested. For more information, please see the UNLV Special Collections policies on reproduction and use ( or contact us at

Standardized Rights Statement

Digital Provenance

Original archival records created digitally





i AN INTERVIEW WITH PATRICIA VAZQUEZ An Oral History Conducted by Marcela Rodriquez-Campo, Monserrath Hernández and Rodrigo Vazquez Latinx Voices of Southern Nevada Oral History Project Oral History Research Center at UNLV University Libraries University of Nevada Las Vegas ii ©Latinx Voices of Southern Nevada University of Nevada Las Vegas, 2018 Produced by: The Oral History Research Center at UNLV – University Libraries Director: Claytee D. White Project Manager: Barbara Tabach Transcribers: Kristin Hicks, Maribel Estrada Calderón, Nathalie Martinez, Rodrigo Vazquez Editors and Project Assistants: Laurents Bañuelos-Benitez, Maribel Estrada Calderón, Monserrath Hernández, Elsa Lopez, Nathalie Martinez, Marcela Rodriquez-Campo, Rodrigo Vazquez iii The recorded interview and transcript have been made possible through the generosity of a National Endowment for Humanities (NEH) Grant. The Oral History Research Center enables students and staff to work together with community members to generate this selection of first-person narratives. The participants in this project thank University of Nevada Las Vegas for the support given that allowed an idea the opportunity to flourish. The transcript received minimal editing that includes the elimination of fragments, false starts, and repetitions in order to enhance the reader’s understanding of the material. All measures have been taken to preserve the style and language of the narrator. In several cases photographic sources accompany the individual interviews with permission of the narrator. The following interview is part of a series of interviews conducted under the auspices of the Latinx Voices of Southern Nevada. Claytee D. White Director, Oral History Research Center University Libraries University of Nevada Las Vegas iv PREFACE An artist, an educator, and a literature analyst, Patricia Vázquez was born in Las Vegas, Nevada in 1966. Born into a Mexican American family, she spent her childhood between Las Vegas and Mexico, going back to her roots every summer. With an expansive imagination, Vázquez has always seen life through a critical lens, questioning norms, attitudes, and customs. In 1988, she transferred to Arizona State University where she majored in the fine arts. She then continued her education with a Masters of the Arts in comparative Literature from ASU. After completing her education, Vázquez dabbled with social activism and teaching, eventually becoming a professor of literature at the College of Southern Nevada. With more than twenty years teaching at CSN, Vázquez created and teaches courses on LGBTQ+ and Latino literature and is part of most diversity initiative committees at CSN. An insightful scholar and renowned professor, Vázquez is also a gifted painter. Using her experiences and critical lens on contemporary society, her paintings depict moments in her life that defined her as a person. From her childhood memories of growing up in Las Vegas to the changing American social-political climate to her experiences as lesbian, Patricia’s paintings are windows to her heart and soul. Articulate and elegant with words, Patricia is an essential piece to the Latinx Voices Project, recalling old Las Vegas, describing the LGBTQ+ scene in Las Vegas throughout the years, and addressing religious and social norms in the Latinx community. Patricia’s paintings are exhibited at CSN’s Level Up Galleries with past exhibitions including the West Sahara Library among others. v Hitler Read Matchhead vi Self-portrait with her mom in Las Vegas vii Encanto de la Sirena (The Mermaid’s Spell) viii TABLE OF CONTENTS Interview with Patricia Vázquez November 14, 2018 and June 14, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada Conducted by Marcela Rodriquez-Campo, Monserrath Hernández and Rodrigo Vazquez Preface…………………………………………………………………………………………..iv Photos of selected pieces of art……………………………………………………………..v - vii Session One Patricia talks about being born in what was then rural Las Vegas at Sunrise Hospital, her parents’ divorce, and being sent to go live with her mother’s relatives in Mexico due to financial hardships. She shares how her brother and her would wonder the Las Vegas Strip. Patricia explains that the transition from growing up in Mexico with her maternal grandparents and coming back to the U.S. to reunite with her mother in 1970. She shares what life was like in rural Mexico, her mother remarrying a Jewish man, her first encounter with English speaking children, her mother working as a housekeeper, and starting school and learning English in the U.S…...1-5 Patricia describes how she was tracked for special education in elementary school because she didn’t know English, spending summers in Mexico, her experience throughout her k-12 education in CCSD, going from special education to Advance Placement classes, attending Chaparral High School, attending graduate school and working for the Center of Bilingual Education and Research in Arizona, and bilingual education. Talks about being disenfranchised by educational tracking, driving to Mexico and visiting Mexico City, her father living in Cuernavaca and eventually traveling to the U.S. and working in Las Vegas, family reunification, and her father’s tragic death…………………………………………………………………...6-14 Shares her experience of transferring to Arizona State University, living away from her family because of her studies and her sexuality, her family dynamics after coming out, teaching herself how to read and write in Spanish by reading Latin American comics, and the first time she brought a girlfriend home to her mom. Talks about reconnecting with her family in Mexico, traveling the world, living in Arizona with her “new family” of gay friends, working on the Chicano Studies Project and Chicano identity, coming out to Latinos, anecdotes on “Coming Out Day”, and the pros and cons of coming out to people………………………………………..15-20 Talks about a discriminatory incident while working an the Chicano Studies project at ASU, the issues and conditions necessary to come out to Latinos and peers, getting involved in queer activism in Las Vegas through Latino Youth Leadership Conference and Planned Parenthood, ix her queer awareness workshop “¿Gay Pasa?”, MECHA when she was in college and after college, and Arizona’s racist attitudes. Shares the story about how her high school boyfriend’s mother encouraged her to attend college, obtaining her master’s in comparative literature, working in Arizona school districts, choosing to travel to Europe over having a quinceañera, and her comparative literature program where she wrote her thesis on Mexican nun Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz………………………………………………………………………………………...21-25 Patricia talks about returning to Las Vegas after finishing her master’s and working at the Clark County Library, applying to the English Department at College of Southern Nevada, her activism in community organizing against workplace discrimination through the ACLU and PLAN, being out as gay at CSN when its policies did not protect gay employees’ rights, and teaching her first English classes. Shares the importance of having Latinx teachers in higher education and being invited to Hopi Mesa to witness a sacred dance……………………………………………...26-30 Elaborates on the idea of identity and how depending on who is asking identity night change, why she hates the term Hispanic, what she refers to as “pegan Catholosim” and her grandmother’s worship of La Virgen de Guadalupe. Shares the time she took her mom and her Jewish boyfriend to watch The Passion of the Christ, her boyfriend’s mother taking her to synagogue, her grandmother’s passing at the age of 102, and celebrating her the Day of the Dead…………………………………………………………………………………………..31-35 Talks about her mother’s gift for her when she went off to college, her mother’s gift of making salsa, her family’s cooking, her mother’s teachings through songs, and growing up on the East Side of Las Vegas. Patricia describes her childhood as a tomboy, standing up to a bully, how education changed her life and allowed her to succeed, and going to the Las Vegas Art Museum where she saw an impactful painting of Georges Seurat, how it inspired her to become a painter, and showcasing her work at various libraries and galleries. She also shares the stories behind two of her paintings where she conveys her life experiences on canvas………………………….36-42 Session Two Patricia talks about starting a queer literature course for CSD after her students kept asking her to teach one, the difficulty of putting a course together for a subject that is not frequently taught, applying queer theory into the literary canon, the straight washing of canon literature, putting together a Latin American literature course. Talks about her thesis subject [Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz] and how she felt uncomfortable teaching queer literature as a lesbian herself. Explains how she was out at CSN when LGBTQ+ people were no a protected class………………………43-50 Shares stories of being out at CSN and normalizing queerness in her classroom and in workplace, when and how she realized she was attracted to women and struggling with the internalized stigma of what being a lesbian is. Recalls a story of her childhood when she fought a girl and x was praised as a hero for beating up la marimacha, struggling to end her eight-year relationship with a man, and her first kiss with a woman and the coming to terms and understanding her sexuality………………………………………………………………………………………51-55 Continues sharing about coming to terms with her sexuality and familiarizing herself with the gay scene in Las Vegas, the stigma around bisexuality within the LGBTQ+ community, the intensity of being in love with women, and dating men out of spite. Describes coming out to her mother by bringing a women home, coming out to her sister and her brother, and all their different reactions. Talks about the guilt her mom and brother felt for her “coming out gay”…………………………………………………………………………………………...56-60 Explains the context of coming out as gay during the AIDs epidemic, the taboo of coming out in Latino culture, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, coming out to the academic community, and the extra precautions that gay bars took to protect the LGBTQ+ community. Elaborates on the Christian values of older generations of Latinos that prevent them from accepting the LGBTQ+ community, Latina women perpetuating patriarchal norms on their children, queer representation in media, and where the stigma of pedophilia attached to queerness comes form…………...61-65 Talks about studying bilingual education at ASU, the issues English language learners face in school when placed in Special Education due to their language limitation, how educational tracking affected her and other students like her, and growing up on the Eastside of Las Vegas, and the double standards of growing up Latino, and working for the Chicano project at ASU. Explains how many people rank their different identities, working with Dr. Cordelia Candelaria at ASU, the difference between Mexican American and Chicano, ASU student body, and working with the Latino Youth Leadership Conference and the resistance of the conference coordinators when businesses began sponsoring them……………………………………….66-70 Mentions taking her sabbatical and writing on Dante, the evolution of the Latino Leadership Conference to what it is today, the activism she engaged in during the 90s, the Frontier Strike, Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada [PLAN], her activism for LGBTQ+ rights in Nevada, and SCOTUS ruling gay marriage constitutional, the process of getting married in Nevada before gay marriage was allowed federally………………………………………………………….71-75 Describes meeting her partner’s family and receiving the blessing from her father, being a part of every hiring committee at CSN, the need for more people of color in academia, CSN being a Hispanic Serving Institution, and the problems with diversity hires. Explains what Spanish means to her, her family in Mexico, how being an academic in Mexico is different than being an academic in the U.S., and what she describes as “pagan” Catholicism……………………...75-80 Talks about watching The Temptation of Christ with her Jewish boyfriend and her Catholic mother, the importance of the Virgin Mary in Latino and Mexican culture, the importance of her mother’s bendición [blessing], and the reason she doesn’t eat pork. Explains how she celebrates xi el Dia de los Muertos [Day of the Dead], the difference in tone and feeling between Spanish and English, magical realism in Spanish literature, and modismos [idioms]……………………..81-87 Elaborates on her marriage and raising her partner’s two children, the challenges of parenting, having a mixed family, and how she doesn’t consider herself part of the Las Vegas gay community, introducing her friend to the gay scene in town, ClexaCon, gay representation in the media, her panel on how to teach queer curriculum, her opinion on the term Latinx, how she identifies, the importance of preserving the story of those marginalized, and the physical toll of teaching……………………………………………………………………………………….88-95 Mentions her exhibited paintings at the Las Vegas Museum for the Holocaust Exhibit and at Level Up Galleries, her experience with homophobia, and the Fruit Loop [gay district] in Las Vegas………………………………………………………………………………………..96-102 1 Session One My name is Marcela Rodriguez-Campo. Today is November 14th, 2018. I am with... Barbara Tabach. Patricia Vázquez. And we are at CSN. Dr. Vázquez is— No, I'm not a doctor. I just have my master's. Patricia Vázquez's office. Yes. Can you start off by saying your name and then spelling it for us? Patricia is P-A-T-R-I-C-I-A. Vázquez is V-Á-Z-Q-U-E-Z. Patricia, can you start telling us about your childhood; where did you grow up and what was that like? I was born here in Vegas. My mom told me that when she first arrived here all the casinos were one floor and apparently so was the hospital, Sunrise Hospital. When I was a kid, I would see my birth certificate and it said "rural Las Vegas." There was a desert apparently between the city of Vegas and the hospital, which is now on Maryland Parkway and Desert Inn, and the airport. I didn't know that until a few years ago when this guy was doing a lecture at UNLV on using military surveillance pictures in order to help him with archaeological digs. Just to make the audience happy, he put one up of Las Vegas in 1965, which was the year before I was born, and so I was able to see exactly how separated the hospital was from the rest of the city; that there was this desert in between. I found that funny. I finally understood why my hospital was designated as "rural Las Vegas." It was outside the city limits. That was for real. My parents were divorced in 1968, so when I was about two. My mother sent me and my 2 brother to live with relatives in Mexico because she couldn't support us by herself. We used to live at 10 West Colorado Street. Somehow I still remember the address. I think she showed it to us. I think it's now the driveway to a mechanic shop or something. It's completely gone. But it's down by where they do the art walk tour and during First Fridays, down in that area. She would try to put the furniture in front of door when she went to work, so that we couldn't escape while she left. But my brother, being three years older than me, he would pick me up, put my shoes on, put my clothes on, and then open up the window, drop me out, drop himself out, and then wander in the streets late at night on the Las Vegas Strip. For some reason I remember a few details. The police caught us. They gave us Doritos, I think. I'm not sure. For some reason I remember that detail. I don't remember it that much, but I guess the second time they threatened to take the kids away if they found us again walking the streets at night. Out of fear of losing us, my mother sent us to live with her family in Mexico. I don't remember being born in the U.S. When we did eventually make it back, it was 1970 and I thought I had never laid eyes on this place. My first language was Spanish. When I got here it, was very different from Mexico. I was used to green hill tropical weather and all the sudden this place looked like Mars. It was extremely quiet. You didn't have the streaming hordes of people that you have to wade through when you're in Mexico City or Cuernavaca. My mother is from Cuernavaca and I also stayed in a ranch in a very rural area of the State of Mexico. My grandmother lived where there was no running water or electricity. I do have these very early experiences of living on a farm and having to kill animals if you were going to eat meat, eating everything that you produce, so the corn, the coffee, the beans; everything was there fresh. One of the reasons why I won't eat corn tortillas in the United States is because I have a memory of what they taste like when my grandmother made them fresh. They 3 always taste like cement when I eat them here. They always taste horrible here. Anyway, in 1970, my mother remarried. She married a Jewish man, which was why her last name is Rosenberg. You can imagine how surprised people are when they see her, this little Mexican woman named Mary Rosenberg, a very Jewish name. When we got here what I do remember is, very early, walking out into the street and seeing these three girls come towards me. The girl in the center was white, at her right was this Asian girl, and on her left was a black girl. I can recall in my mind not really thinking about the racial differences back then as being anything terribly astonishing. What marks that memory for me so deeply is the fact that when they came towards me, they tried to speak to me and it was like a radio that was garbled. I could see that they were intentionally trying to communicate with me, but I couldn't understand and that terrified me. I went just screaming, running back to my mother, who said that from now on Spanish was going to be our secret language and that we were going to have to adapt and use this other language from now on. As kind of a flash forward, I remembered that scene very clearly when I was seventeen years old and I was in Europe in the Piazza Navona, in Italy where you have the fountain of the four continents. I remember thinking that my introduction to the U.S. was this meeting of the four continents. That's interesting. That was the initial arrival in the U.S. Who was Mr. Rosenberg? What kind of work was he in? He was a butcher. He worked in the casinos as a butcher. What was his first name? Herman. 4 We have a Jewish project as well, so I'm just curious. My sister is half-Mexican, half-Jewish. She calls herself a Jewsican. She's incredibly funny, sorry. That's great. I like it. What kind of work was your mom in? She was a housekeeper for Desert Springs Hospital for over thirty years, I want to say more. She started working there in the early seventies and then she retired a few years ago, eight years ago or something, I can't remember. What was it like when you saw your mom again in the U.S.? Did she visit often? It's funny. I wasn't expecting that question. I didn't know who my mom was very well. My mom says that I called every adult female mom and every adult male dad, in Spanish. What I do remember is that when she came, it signaled a change, in that we were moving, so I was frightened of her. Whereas my brother was old enough to remember that she was our mother, and so he would cry and throw fits and tantrums and really be attached to her, which made her gravitate towards him more than me. I remember when she came to pick us up at my aunt's house, my paternal aunt, I hid apparently in this vent thinking that if she didn't see me, she would leave without me. But I didn't know that they were going to sit there and chat forever and eventually I got so tired, apparently I stepped out, which caught my mom’s attention. I tried returning to my hiding place but, my mom grabbed me from my ruffled panties—I remember that she was talking about these ruffled panties—and she took me out. But I do remember being afraid of that change of constant movement, so that was kind of difficult. I had initially a difficult relationship with my mother because I didn't have that memory of her when I was younger. Do you remember when you started school? Yes. I remember I started school in kindergarten. I'm a lesbian now, but I remember when I was 5 in kindergarten I really liked this boy named Guy who had this Beatles' haircut, like a little Dutch boy, and I couldn't speak to him. What I would do is I would run to school early so I could put my pencil next to where he sat, and then I would arrive late as if that was all by coincidence. Apparently my mom remembers that I would walk home with him, which really upset her, but I think I was five. I do remember having another crush on a boy when I was about eight. By then I was very tomboyish and I remember I would get picked first for any kind of sports because I was really good at sports. When it came to football, though, it didn't matter where the ball went, I just tackled him all the time. It was kind of funny. His name was Chris Schultz. I ran into him when I was twenty-eight or something when I came back to Vegas. I was sitting at the Crown and Anchor, which is right by UNLV. This guy comes up and he goes, "Oh my God, I feel like I've known you my whole life." I'm like, who are you? I've never even seen this kid. He goes, "My brother was madly in love with you, all growing up." I'm like, "Who was that?" He's like, "He's in the corner over there and he refuses to come over." It was that boy I used to tackle all the time, Chris Schultz. What elementary school did you attend? Laura—fuck. Excuse me. Not Laura Ingalls, but Laura Dearing. Sorry, I was trying to fetch that from all the way back. It was a while ago. It's okay. We've heard worse. Around what time did you start learning English? Well, that was very problematic for me. I didn't experience any kind of overt racism growing up. But one of the things that I experienced was institutional racism because I didn't speak English right away, they tracked me. By the time I was in third grade, I was more fluent in English; I was 6 English dominant. My mom would speak to me in Spanish, but I would just respond in English. But I had been tracked for special ed. In third grade what was happening is instead of receiving any kind of instruction, I was being put with kids that had all kinds of problems. Everybody could do whatever they wanted because there was never a lesson. It was kind of like a day care they were just holding and watching. I remember that if you could read any amount of a book, you'd get these little ribbons. I'd be like, okay, what color ribbon do I want today? And I read that number of books. But one of the good things about it was that they had a lot on Greek myths and I just couldn't get enough. I read the Greek myths nonstop during that time, along with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and stuff like that. But there was zero instruction, so zero math instruction, or how to read. There was just no instruction at all; it was just a free-for-all. At about that time I discovered the library. For some reason I got it into my head that library was church. I created my own mythology here, but basically I had heard that Jesus was the storehouse of wisdom and libraries were the storehouse of wisdom, and so I thought the libraries were churches. Then the other problem that I had is that I was going back and forth to Mexico every summer. As soon as we were out of school, my mom took us to Mexico for 3 months. There you would see Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz on the money, on posters, books, and she was always sitting in front of her huge library. I told my mom when I was a kid that I wanted to be like her, and she thought I meant a nun, but I was thinking, no, she's a priestess of books. I had my own religion. Somehow I thought that the first library was in Alexandria, in Egypt, I thought Alexander the Great had created libraries, and so I worshiped him like a deity because I thought that he gave us libraries...So, yes, I had a completely distorted view of everything. 7 I would go to the libraries all the time and I would read books. But I received practically, I would say, zero instruction in anything because I was separated from my peers and put into special ed. Now, let me just say that I was complicit in this because I recognized that if I made a stink that I would be given homework and I didn't want to be given homework. I was really into art and I was really into sports, so I didn't want to have anything to do with homework. I just laid low. Then around sixth grade, this teacher, I remember her horror and she was like, "You don't belong here." I was like, "Please don't rat on me. Please don't tell anybody." but she did. At the very end of that year, they put me into a regular classroom and I was absolutely terrified because they were going to be testing me on something I had never been given instruction. I had never been taught math. I had never been taught reading or anything. It was sixth grade and I remember they put me into a regular classroom. I remember that the kids were taking turns reading and that I was beside myself because they were so slow. By then I had read the entire trilogy of Lord of the Rings. These guys were barely reading what I considered to be more like fourth-grade level books. When it came to math, it was just guesswork for me because I didn't know. They would do division and I would just throw out a number. I didn't know the steps. I had never been taught. But somehow I had this photographic memory, so I was really good at spelling. They would send me to spelling bees. Around, I want to say, tenth grade I remember being in this class, again still special ed, with this teacher who was very dynamic, very wonderful. Her name was Ms. Grabavoi. She's very key, pivotal in my life, Ms. Grabavois. We were a holding pen, with not just kids that had learning disabilities but maybe even problems with drugs. I don't know. We were a very difficult 8 classroom. I knew that we were kind of like the leftover parts. I remember she told us a story. There was a story of this young guy. His mom had remarried. He was convinced that this guy that she was remarried had killed his father. He had this girlfriend. Making it very relatable to us. We were like hanging at the edge of our seats. We were like, what happened? She goes, "It's Hamlet. Read it yourself." We were like, "Shakespeare, no way." We couldn't believe that we had just got reeled in. But she did create this desire to learn, especially with reading, that I had not experienced before that. In class she had this kid that she liked very much, that I was very envious of, and she put him in advanced composition. I can't remember what class she put me in, but I remember being very jealous of the attention that she gave him. Whatever she gave him, I wanted. In that era we were still filling out forms with pen and ink. Being an artist, I forged her signature and I put myself into advanced composition even though at that point I still didn't know where to put a period at the end of a sentence. Sports and art came to a screeching halt. I stole the text book for advanced composition from school and I just spent the summer just reading it from cover to cover. I learned everything simultaneously, so the period, the comma, the semicolon; everything was all at once. I was terrified. I got into advanced composition, which just happened to be next door to Mrs. Gravois and I was just wondering if she was going to notice that I placed myself in there and if she was going to say anything. The teacher that I got was a very strict disciplinarian, very different from Mrs. Gravois. I tended to be very rebellious, so she wasn't particularly fond of me. But I remember the first essay that was due, I was absolutely terrified. I was sweating. I was at home. My friends happened to be very smart. Later on, my best friend, Teresa Ryda would 9 become valedictorian of the school, but at the time we were still...I think this is tenth grade. One of my friends who happened to be in that class, Kim Nakaniski one of my very smart friends, she noticed I was missing and drove to my house and said, "Your essay is due. You are absent. We need to get that essay to the teacher." I was apparently working on it at the time—it was one of those old typewriters, not real old, but it was in between the typewriter and the computer. It was like this little thing where it would show a sentence before it printed. Selectrics or something like that. Yes, it was Little Brother, I think. Anyway, I got it done. She drove me back. I submitted it. When I got the paper back, when the papers were scored, I got a B. I was beside myself. I was so happy. The teacher was mad that I did not have higher expectations of myself. She didn't understand why I was so satisfied with a B. But I was thinking that I had gone from special ed to advanced composition and I got a B. I was very happy. But Ms. Grabavoi kept tabs on me and kept asking. They would talk to each other and she would ask about my progress. That same student—I don't remember his name—but he also seemed to get the attention of this other teacher and this was now eleventh grade. I was jealous of the fact that she placed him in AP, advanced placement, world literature for the twelfth grade. I think she gave me British or American lit. I don't know what she gave me. I was thinking, no, I'm just going to forge this signature and put myself into the AP class again. But it was 1982 or '83, I can't remember, but they switched from signatures to computer generated forms, so I couldn't forge the signature this time. I was despondent. I just fell into despair. But one day, while I was in the library, I ran into Mrs. Grabavoi. She walked up and asked, "Patricia, I didn't see your name on the roster." And I explained, "No, Mrs. Story put me 10 in this other class." She replies, "But Mrs. Story isn't teaching the class. I'm the teacher. Go tell the administration that I want you in AP world lit." I was, you can imagine, doing backflips all the way to the office. I was placed into advanced placement world lit because you get tracked I was suddenly now in advanced placement government, advanced placement art. It was like suddenly I was advanced everything. I didn't take any language classes, but Ms. Grabavoi suggested that I test for advanced placement Spanish, and so I did and I got a near perfect score which helped me later on in college to prove that I was proficient in Spanish without having to pay for the classes. What high school did you attend? Chaparral. What was the demographics of Chaparral at that time? Growing up there weren't a lot of Latinos. You were definitely in the minority. Yes, yes. I don't know what to say because then in advanced placement, there weren't a lot of Latinos, either. I don't have the memory of there being...My two best friends were Japanese Americans, Teresa Pyda and Kim Nakanishi. I wouldn't be able to give you any real facts on that. No, I don't need the facts. I just need your impressions and how you fit in, other than your struggle to be AP. I love it. That's great. When I was in college and getting my master's, I shared that story with someone who was getting their Ph.D. in special education. She goes, "You really need to tell that story to people that are in that field so that they know not to mistake people." Because one of the things that I 11 did see, too, because later on when I was working in graduate school as a research assistant for the Center for Bilingual Education and Research in Arizona, they were putting people into the Spanish classes because their siblings had spoken only Spanish, but these younger kids didn't speak a lick of Spanish and they were being put in these classes where the language of instruction was Spanish. Anyway, so I did tell a group of teachers at Arizona State University about these struggles that I had being tracked into special ed when I really wasn't special ed. I needed bilingual ed. They saw it as speaking volumes about the special education department, and that wasn't the case. I was simply misplaced. Did you have resentment when you finally realized what had happened? You talked about it a little bit, but as an adult when you look back at that. I would say that yes, there was a certain resentment in that—I would see it as being, yes, prob