Livermore High’s Roxana Westbrook Shares Advice to High School Students

Roxana Westbrook is a Spanish teacher at Livermore High School. Westbrook immigrated from Peru in 1988 alone, but she wasn’t planning on living here. 

When Westbrook came to the United States, her perception of American lives was based on American television shows. Specifically the television show “Macgyver”. She saw life in the U.S. as “perfect, easy, and happy”. 

Once she arrived, her first impression of the United States was positive. She marveled at how clean, sunny, and big the US was compared to Peru. 

Westbrook also noticed how much food people were wasting. Westbrook stated that Peru has a variety of environments to get natural resources. People in Peru use the land to their advantage and have access to all kinds of different foods.

When moving to the United States, Westbrook knew she would have to learn the English language. Roxana stated, “the hardest thing about learning the English language was probably writing and pronouncing.”.

Westbrook stated that she has never felt discriminated against. This might be because she probably didn’t notice or understand. 

Although, when one of her children started school, a teacher pointed out that her child needed to stop speaking Spanish. She told Roxana that she needed to speak more English to her children for them to succeed. 

The teacher exclaimed that Westbrook’s child would never speak English well enough if she was still spoken to in Spanish. 

Roxana ignored the teacher’s comment and continued to parent her kids the way she knew best. That child went on to be an English major. 

When asked for advice for someone who is thinking of immigrating, Westbrook stated, “Be prepared to work hard and be strong to prove what you know.”.

Westbrook wanted to share with students, “When you see an immigrant, don’t see someone who is taking from you, see someone who is leaving everything behind.”