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Kathy Espinoza sings the Star-Spangled Banner

Espinoza sings national anthem at
Montgomery County Executive Hispanic Gala

By Megan Alvarez

Recently, on September 22, Frostburg State University International Studies major Katherine Espinoza had the opportunity to sing the national anthem at the Montgomery County Executive Hispanic Gala at Fillmore Concert Hall in Silver Spring, Maryland. The event serves as a scholarship program which was awards scholarships to Hispanic students in Montgomery County.

This was a repeat performance for Espinoza. While a junior at James Hubert Blake High School, Lorna Virgil, president of the National Hispanic Communications Group, contacted Espinoza’s school looking for a Hispanic student to sing the “Star-Spangled Banner” at the first annual Hispanic gala in 2013. Espinoza’s choir teacher presented Espinoza with the opportunity; and she has sung at the event each year since.

“The experience is very humbling,” says Espinoza, “my mother always tells me before, and after, every performance that there are so many other people that could be chosen to do this and that I am lucky to be the one that gets to do this. I sing a cappella, so all eyes are truly on me. It is a nerve-wracking and scary experience because I worry about messing up, tripping over my dress, and everything else in between. However, I feel extremely honored and welcomed as soon as I get done, so it makes the experience much easier.”

Although Espinoza herself did not receive a scholarship, she says, “it warms my heart and makes me the utmost happiest when I get to see how many Hispanic kids are getting the opportunity to continue their education. I know the struggle that my people have had here in the United States and the sacrifices that Latinos have made, my mom included, to get us kids to have what many of them could not. It is a night of excitement, laughter, and most importantly, celebration of the Hispanic community.”

Singing at the gala is just one night of the year, so Espinoza fills a majority of her time being involved in multiple organizations on campus: Alpha Sigma Tau (AST) sorority, Colleges Against Cancer and the Latin American Student Organization.

“Through AST I have gained many positive character qualities; I have had experience in working with other organizations, fundraising, promoting, creativity, time management, putting on events, and many more skills I can take to the workplace. Most importantly, to me, my chapter here is a close family that I can carry with me forever,” says Espinoza.

Espinoza also serves as the current secretary for Colleges Against Cancer, which is something that means a lot to her because she has three family members who are cancer survivors.

The Latin American Student Organization (LASO), is the most recent organization Espinoza has joined, but she says, “I hope to work with other members to bring light to social, political, and economic troubles for the Latino community as well as showing the positivity that Latinos bring.” As a International Studies major, this organization is something Espinoza says will help with her future as she hopes to one day travel and help the Latino community all over the world.


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