A Spotlight on Daniela Estefes-Santos

Eve Loehrer, Editor-in-Chief

On October 14, senior Daniela Estefes-Santos spoke at the Latinx Education Collaborative’s Evolución Conference in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month. At the conference, Estefes-Santos discussed why Latinx representation matters to her as a student.

“I would say it’s just being […] surrounded [by] people who feel the same way and [are] so passionate about keeping culture in the school and making sure kids know that they are wanted in the school,” Estefes-Santos said. 

As 28% of Olathe North’s student population is Hispanic, Estefes-Santos believes it’s especially important to make sure that group feels represented.

“I think it’s definitely just making sure that the Hispanic percentage of the school, the Latinx community, is involved and seen doing things like this, like when a Latinx student does something for a school event or maybe a sports event or just out of school,” Estefes-Santos said. 

Olathe North Spanish teacher and Latina Leadership sponsor Marta Silva presented Estefes-Santos the opportunity to speak at the Evolución Conference. Estefes-Santos said that Silva has helped her reach this point where she is able to present about her identity and what matters to her.

“I think it’s just her being a Latinx activist and her being a constant supporter of all her students and making sure that our voices are heard,” Estefes-Santos said.

As a senior, Estefes-Santos is the president of Latina Leadership Club. Olathe North also has a Hispanic Leadership Club, but Estefes-Santos explains that Latina Leadership Club fills a different need in the school.

“Latina Leadership Club is about building a community of Latinas and talking about the hardships,” Estefes-Santos said. “And not only just looking at them and talking about them, but also celebrating the hardships and also celebrating the good things that as a Latina community we face and endure.”

Currently, Latina Leadership Club is raising money for the Hispanic Development Fund’s Cambio para Cambio (Change for Change) fundraiser which contributes to the scholarship funds of Latinx students in Kansas City.

In the future, Estefes-Santos plans to attend Kansas State University and major in Architectural Engineering and Latin American Studies.

“I want to do engineering because there’s only such a little percentage of women, especially Hispanic women, in engineering, I want to do that to advocate for women in STEM,” Estefes-Santos said. “Then [I will] also study Latin American Studies to educate myself on my culture.”

Estefes-Santos’s identity as a Latina has pushed her to learn about her culture and advocate for others like her.

“Overall I was just grateful [for] being able to share my experience and share my story about just growing up in a predominantly white area and being able to find the pride of my identity within the struggle,” Estefes-Santos said.