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Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month ¡Feliz Mes de la Herencia Hispana!

Eight AJGA staff members of Hispanic decent | Ocho miembros del personal de AJGA de ascendencia hispana
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For Hispanic Heritage Month, the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) would like to pay tribute to all the Hispanics and Latinos who have not only enriched America's history but have been huge components to making golf more inclusive. The AJGA believes welcoming people from all backgrounds and embracing diverse perspectives better equip us to accomplish our mission of DEVELOPING GOLF’S NEXT GENERATION®.

The AJGA currently has eight staff members that come from Hispanic origin or descent.

Meet our AJGA Staff:

Jordan Alejandre - Tournament Coordinator
"My family on my dad’s side is from Mexico, primarily the Michoacán / Southern Jalisco area. It means a lot to me to be able to carry on my family’s last name and show what can come from years of hard work as they immigrated to the US with nothing. Unfortunately, they passed away when I was young, but being able to keep carrying on their last name allows me to still feel connected to them. The culture is the best thing about being Hispanic. Also, the food is phenomenal and growing up with it has had me add that cuisine into my cooking skills."

Amanda Cantor - Communications Coordinator
"Being Hispanic is something I have always taken great pride in.  My grandparents on my mom's side were born and raised in Puerto Rico, and my grandparents on my dad's side were born and raised in Colombia. My dad immigrated to the U.S. when he was 7 years old and my mom moved to the mainland U.S.A. when she was in her 20s. Both of my parents worked extremely hard to become successful in their respective fields, something they learned from their parents before them, and they instilled that work ethic in me and my sisters. 

As a Hispanic, there is a sense of family and community everywhere you look, everyone is always watching out for each other, even if you just met. Overall, my favorite part of being Hispanic is definitely the music and the food. My first concert ever was Ricky Martin, who my mom so casually mentioned she once was in an elevator with him back in her 20s (ask me about that wild story), but my first favorite musician was Luis Fonsi (who you may know now from the song Despacito). Growing up, I loved trying different foods from both Puerto Rico and Colombia. My two favorites dishes from Puerto Rico are sorullos de maiz and empanadillas and from Colombia, chicharrón and pandebono. I definitely recommend!"

Regina Dubon - Development Support
"I was born in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. (Tegucigalpa is the capital of Honduras). I came to the US (New Orleans) when I was 3 years old. My great grandparents came from Spain to Honduras. Being Hispanic is something I am very proud of. Family is something we honor and take care of. Traditions are important  to carry one from generation to  the next. I am grateful my parent taught me a second language when I was little. My favorite things about being Latina is the close connection we keep in the family."

Thomas Harrison - Director of Tournament Operations
"Being Hispanic means that I'm part of a proud and rich culture that places importance on family, community, and shared traditions. Being part of Las Posadas is my favorite part of our culture. It brings extended family together around the holidays and gives everyone a chance to experience a true Mexican tradition." 

Hailey Hernandez - Communications Director
"My dad’s side of the family is originally from northeastern Mexico, near Nuevo León. I am very proud to be Hispanic and for the traditions I have adopted through my family. To me, being Hispanic is centered around strong relationships among my family members and the value of hard work and a good work ethic. I have loved learning to cook authentic Mexican food from my Papa and sharing those memories with my grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. We have all come to expect his special homemade salsa at all family gatherings."

Jordana Roberts - Customer Service Manager
"Mi mama nacio en Cuba. La familia siempre es la primera prioridad. Tener una familia muy unida y llena de tradiciones. Y siempre nos amamos profundamente y nos apoyamos mutuamente."

"My mother is from Cuba. Family is always my first priority. My favorite thing about being Hispanic is having a close-knit family full of traditions. And we always love deeply and support each other."

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L.B. VanFleet (middle) with Uncle and Grandma

L.B. Van Fleet - Manager of Tournament Finance
"My Hispanic side of my family came from Mexico, just west of Texas. They came to America in the early 1900s and established a ranch in Texas. Since then, the family has dispersed to Minnesota, Michigan, Louisiana and Georgia. Being Hispanic, as a culture I believe hard work, family and our belief system are the forefront of who we are as people. My dad, being Hispanic, ingrained that into me and my siblings at such an early age. My favorite thing about being Hispanic? The obvious…. the food. Hispanics have the best food in the world and it is not even close!"

Emma Varela - Communications Manager
"My dad’s side of my family comes from Mexico. Jose “Chico” Barela (interestingly our last name was Barela in history books for a while because the V and B sound are similar in Spanish) was a Tejano and worked as a Texas Ranger. He was already in the Texas area prior to statehood in the mid-1800s. My great-grandpa Kiko was his descendant and born on the border. My great-grandma Adelina (where my middle name comes from) was born in Alamogordo, New Mexico. My great-grandpa Nacho was born in San Antonio and my great-grandma Bertha was born in Chihuahua, Mexico. My grandparents were raised in El Paso, where they met and where my dad was born and raised.

Being Hispanic is a sense of identity. It is cool to know exactly where my family comes from and have a sense of place. I love the uniqueness that comes with being Hispanic. I grew up eating authentic Mexican food made by my dad or grandma and now I cook those same things for my friends. I have a very unique head of curls I inherited from my grandma and you can’t beat the year round tan!"