The Trouble with Facundo

In the 1950s, Ramón Sanchez was a Mexican-American student attending elementary school in southern California.

By the second grade, his name had been Anglicized to “Raymond.” Similarly, students named Maria and Juanita had become “Mary” and “Jane.”

Then a new student named Facundo [fah-COON-do] arrived.

When he came to school we noticed they called an emergency administrative meeting. You could kind of hear them talking through the door, you know, “What are we going to do with this guy, man? How are we going to change his name?”

Someone suggested that they shorten Facundo to “Fac,” but it was decided that “Fac” was too close to a dirty word.

You can’t be saying ‘Fac where’s your homework,’ ‘Where’s Fac at,’ you know what I mean?

And so, at Ramón’s elementary school, Facundo ended up being the only kid who never got his name changed.

The Spanish/Portuguese name Facundo comes from the Roman name Facundus. In Latin, facundus means “eloquent, fluent.”

Source: Ramón “Chunky” Sanchez – StoryCorps


One thought on “The Trouble with Facundo

  1. My grandparents were Italian immigrants, and my father’s elementary school changed his name from Gaetano to Thomas, which he remained his legal name his whole life.
    I’m glad this sort of thing is less common today. Despite being a “melting pot”, the US has tried so hard to erase different cultural identities.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.