Alvarado recalls special moments in her Quinceañera

Jumana Alsaadoon, Online Managing Editor

Sophmore Kayli Alvarado dances with a large picture of her grandfather. (Photo curtsey of Kayli Alvarado )In Spanish, quinceañera means 15 years old. Like the name insinuates, quinceaneras are the celebration of a girl turning 15 years old. This celebration is not like any other birthday, it signifies a girl aging into a woman. 

Sophomore Kayli Alvarado had her quinceañera during the summer of this year. Families start preparing for the quinceanera party usually a year in advance. However, some girls have less or more time. 

“It probably took me four months, most girls it takes a year, but I didn’t know I was going to have a quince until six months before. We prepared as much as we could,” Alvarado said. 

Since her quinceañera was prepared in a short period of time, Alvarado didn’t have any dancers. In traditional Quinceanera’s the birthday girl has backup dancers. Usually the dancers are friends and family of the girl. The purpose of the dancers is to make the dances bigger and with more people.

“I didn’t have any chambelanes, that’s what the backup dancers are called, it was just me,” Alvarado said. 

Due to the price of setting up a big event like a quinceanera, girls are often able to choose to spend the money on either the quinceaneras or something else. Alvarado was given a choice between a quince or getting a car. 

“My parents are privileged enough to get me a car and then still have a small quince, so I had a small quince, with no backup dancers, and it was just me,” Alvarado said. 

Alvarado recalls the best moment of her quinceañera being during her dance with a picture of her grandfather. 

“My grandfather passed away three years ago. I danced with a picture of him, a big frame and it was the size of my torso. I danced with him and I danced with my mom, and that was pretty special. My grandfather made me the person I am,” Alvarado said. 

Alvarado credits her grandfather for teaching her things about life that helped her grow. 

“He taught me how to never be judgmental towards anybody. He was never the one to change how he looked at somebody because of their sexuality or of their skin color,” Alvarado said.

The biggest lesson she learned from her grandfather was the virtue to act with patience. 

“People would use him a lot, even his own siblings and his own blood used him for that. He’s such a kind hearted person. He always ignored it because they were family. If they needed something, he would give it to them. He was a very patient person, that taught me to be patient,” Alvarado said. Alvarado not only learned patience from her grandfather, but also the art of baseball.

“He coached me in softball during the spring, and he died in September, a couple months after the season had ended. We got really close because we practiced pretty much every other day. We got to spend a lot of time with each other during that season,” Alvarado said. 

She was grateful for that season because it allowed her to spend more time with her grandfather before he passed away. 

“When he was here, he was always excited for my quince, he was like ‘ I can’t wait for your quince, I’m going to do all of this and that’, he was always talking about it. I knew I was going to have a dance with him, but I didn’t know he was going to die so unexpectedly. I knew he was going to be in my dance, but I didn’t know he was going to be in it like that,” Alvarado said.