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Facundo, the Great

This short animated video produced by Story Corps in 2013 tells the story of Ramón “Chunky” Sanchez, a boy who was raised in a small town in southern California in the 1950s. As was common practice at that time, teachers would Americanize, or adopt the English version of Mexican American students’ names; in the video, Ramón becomes Raymond, María becomes Mary, and Juaníta becomes Jane. The name Facundo, however, proves impossible for the teachers to Americanize.

discussion

How do the students react to the changes in their names?

How does someone’s name say something about their identity? What is the impact of Americanizing the students’ names?

What is the story’s message about Facundo and his name? Does Facundo’s fate apply to the other kids?

In what other ways have immigrant identities been Americanized over history and today? What is gained or lost in this process of assimilation?