Every Student Has a Story: Stephany Lambruschini

Renee Miedlar, Public Relations Editor

The reality of picking up and leaving to move to a completely foreign country is an unnerving transition for anyone, let alone a young girl. Letting go of a life that you have invested so much devotion into and completely changing your lifestyle and surroundings can be one of the most difficult changes you’ll ever make. Stephany Lambruschini knows all too well the sacrifices, but also the gains, of uprooting your life and traveling to a new, strange place.

When Stephany was only nine years of age, she immigrated from Lima, Peru to Riverside, Illinois with her mother Gabriella Fernandez, leaving behind the rest of her family in Peru. They made the tough decision to move in hopes of escaping the bad economic state the country was under and creating a better life. Her mother’s sister was one of the few people that they knew living in the states. They ended up initially moving in with Stephany’s aunt so that they could get comfortable with their new surroundings and especially the new language.  Stephany enrolled in the local elementary school, Central, and was placed in the fourth grade. Since learning a new language is significantly easier for children than it is for adults, Stephany was able to learn English despite some early difficulties.

“I felt like my teachers talked extremely fast and that I wasn’t smart enough or something, because it took me a while to carry a good conversation with my classmates and to lose my accent,” she said.

The school would pull Stephany out of class and give her one-on-one time with an ESL teacher to help her learn more quickly. Though it was hard for her to overcome such a huge language barrier, she had the support of her family, her new friends, and her teachers.

Even though she primarily speaks English now, Stephany and her mom still like to keep their culture alive at home by speaking to each other in Spanish whenever possible. They also love to cook traditional Peruvian dishes and frequently attend picnics where they only serve Peruvian food.  There, Stephany and her family are able to mingle with people of similar back grounds and customs.

Stephany definitely misses her family and friends living in Peru, but her grandparents and other family members have been able to visit her throughout the years.

“Overall, I’m glad I moved here, because I have a bigger opportunity to succeed here,” she said.

Stephany has used every opportunity given to her. She has immersed herself in many different activities throughout her years at RB. She has been a part of the Girls’ Swimming Team and the Girls’ Water Polo Team since her junior year and was asked to be a part of the varsity polo team this upcoming season. She also has been a part of RB’s Association of Students for Tolerance (AST) since her sophomore year.  Through AST, Stephany volunteers at the British Home for seniors every Wednesday, and she is also the current AST co-president alongside Samuel Romo.

“I’ve achieved a quantity of things. I became bilingual without losing my Spanish, I made sure I fully committed myself to school and maintained a good gpa, made lifetime friends, and I got into U of I, my dream school,” said Stephany.

When you look at Stephany, she seems like a typical RB student, but she has a unique story that is all her own.