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My mom was my hero.

She passed away May of 2013 without knowing how much I looked up to her.


I didn’t know how to cope or grieve, so I did what I always do - I worked. I started digging through our family records and used online resources to piece together our family’s history.  That is where I found that my ancestors migrated from Spain to Nicaragua and furthermore the original spelling of my family’s last name was Cepeda. That was five years ago.


Five years later, I still miss my mom very much. She was the light in our household. She made our house a home. I grieve her absence every Mother’s Day, every Christmas, every birthday. The last memento she gave me was a note she wrote for me on my birthday. I read it every year on my birthday.

As the 5th anniversary of her passing loomed, I knew I wanted to do something permanent to commemorate her lessons, and her life. On my birthday this year, I re-read her letter like I’ve done every year. The following day, I asked for my family’s blessing and on the first business day the courthouse was open, I filed to change my last name. That was February 26.

My name change is personal. My son, my mom's grandson, is Cepeda. I hope and wish my great-great-great grandchildren know about our family’s history, heritage, and love for them.


I am a private person. I am not a politician. I am an educator. I don’t actively seek the stage or the limelight or make millions. I work hard to make a positive difference for kids and plan to keep working toward that goal.

Irene Cepeda

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