Ernesto Navarro: Optimistic about public speaking, about his mom

Nadine Druar, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

Ernesto Navarro is a freshman at Notre Dame Academy and a recent contestant in the Optimist Club speech contest.

“The Optimist Club contest was a great experience. I did not win, but I told myself that I have gotten this far, and I was content with that. I learned much from it and would enjoy speaking in front of others in the future,” said Navarro about the Optimist Club speech.

The average day in Navarro’s life consists of his waking up, going to school, and “catching myself from napping in multiple morning classes.” He also plays soccer and dances because he was invited to participate in a girl’s Quinceañera, which is a girl’s fifteenth birthday party that celebrates her transition into adulthood. He and others his age practice for the dance that they will perform at her party.

Navarro went to Saint Bernard’s Catholic Middle School before he came to Notre Dame. His favorite colors are red and black, and his favorite movie is the new Red Dawn because “the movie is patriotic, and it gives me the chills, especially at the end.”

“As a kid I would daydream about joining the military, gunning down bad guys with my buddies and saving the world. As I grew older I realized that Hollywood was Hollywood and being in a war is nothing like it is on screen,” said Navarro.

But although his vision of the military has changed since when he was a child, he says that he is still considering a stint in the military.

“The dream of being in some sort of armed force still follows me. Even though I have seen many terrible things and combat footage that would haunt anyone, I still would want to defend the innocent,” said Navarro.

Navarro’s mother immigrated from Mexico years before he was born. She was one of the things he spoke of in his Optimist speech.

“One inspiring story that I can tell is of my mom coming here from Mexico. She got here at 18 and knew absolutely no English. What made it worse was that she was alone. I think it is funny, and we laugh about it sometimes. Imagine being dropped into a foreign country where you have no clue how to speak the local language, and you live there for years talking in a weird accent that everyone notices. It was like that for her. But she pushed on and now speaks fluently,” said Navarro.