A Colombian narrative, an American dream

Paola Henriquez, Staff Writer

You might recognize her from The Knightly News, for which she anchors, films and edits segments.

Facing language barriers, stigmas surrounding immigrants and stereotypes about girls, junior Yera Hoyos rises above them, accomplishing much more than what some might expect from a young Latina. After moving from Colombia to Miami in 2014, and then to Chantilly in 2016, she immediately began participating in extracurricular activities to help the community.

“The reason why I’m so involved is because it feels right to [give back] to the school and community that has given me all the opportunities to grow as a student and as a person,” Hoyos said.

Not only does she participate in school clubs like Spanish Honor Society, but she also interacts with the local community. Hoyos maintains a good standing academically while simultaneously working at IHOP with an intense schedule of nearly 40 hours a week. Despite the high level of commitment her job demands, she has still been able to create and lead the IHOP project called Kids First. Its objective is to entertain kids with arts and crafts; Hoyos has even created an Instagram account, @ihopchantillykn, through which she publishes pictures of each event.

“I work at IHOP as a server and a hostess,” Hoyos said. “I’m involved in the community by volunteering at the Arbor Terrace Fairfax Senior Living.”

At the senior home, she spends time with the residents watching movies and taking walks.

“I admire that she does different things in life that are challenging, but she takes the risk,” junior Isela Gonzalez, who is a friend and coworker of Hoyos, said. “I know she can achieve anything she proposes.”

During her first three years in the United States, Hoyos spoke mostly Spanish because her community was populated mainly by Latinos. In Florida, she attended the Taller de Actuación Sebastián Ligarde, a school geared toward training students to become actresses and actors.

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Prior to living in Fairfax, Hoyos had never taken a journalism class. When she was introduced to the broadcast journalism class at Chantilly, she felt that it was her destiny to pursue a profession in communications.

Although Hoyos is still considering a career in acting, her dream job is to be an employee at Univision, which is an American Spanish broadcasting network. However, she first wants to serve in the Air Force.

“She has a quiet manner of leadership,” Hispanic Heritage Leadership Club sponsor and College and Career Specialist Iris Rivera said. “Sometimes it may go unnoticed, but the little things that she does [make up] the big things that count.”

Hoyos aims to make positive contributions to her community by both providing opportunities for others and being successful herself.

“I want to represent all Hispanic people by demonstrating that [we] can also achieve great things in life,” Hoyos said.