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Latin Author Visits, Inspires, White Plains HS Students

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. — Honduran author Roberto Quesada made a big impact on students, such as Juan Hoyos, during his annual visit Thursday to Alberto Minotta's Spanish Latin Heritage 2 class at White Plains High School.

For the past 10 years Quesada has visited Minotta's classes to share his passion for literature with students like Hoyos, who said he related to one thing in particular.

"He said he always knew that he wanted to write since he was young; that was inspiring," said Hoyos, who quietly expressed an interest in putting some of his ideas on paper.

Hoyos' classmate Sebastian Donoso, 16, led students in organizing an academic symposium featuring the author, which was focused on the theme of how Latin American immigration in New York has influenced Quesada's life and work.

Minotta first sought Quesada out in 2002 because he was struck by his work, which depicts the life and challenges of immigrants in America.

"It validates their work in terms of realizing how important literature is and how it can be connected to their lives and the lives of others," Minotta said.

Before Thursday's visit, the former National Endowment for the Humanities fellow had his class read "Nunca Entres Por Miami" ("Never Enter Through Miami") by Quesada. Minotta said the students may feel one way or the other about the material, but when presented with the opportunity to meet the author, they couldn't help getting excited.

"I thought it was a big opportunity," said Madelyn Gallardo.

The 15-year-old was one of many to ask questions during the Q&A portion of the event, which she said lasted about 45 minutes. Some students, Minotta said, even got autographs.

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