Publication Date




Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Latin American Studies (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Andrew Lynch

Second Committee Member

Alejandro Portes

Third Committee Member

Maria Estorino


This case study examines students of Cuban descent at a school that exemplifies the often overlooked phenomenon of Cuban Catholic schools and their persistence in contemporary Miami. These Cuban Catholic schools serve as an educational and cultural institution that promotes distinct concepts of acculturation not observed elsewhere. Miami stands out for its Cuban and, more recently, pan-Hispanic influences. This study first incorporates archival data to chronicle the changes that Cuban Catholic schools faced during prerevolutionary Cuba, their “transplant” to Miami in the 1960s (Jorge Suchlicki and Leyva de Varona 1991) and their evolution to pan-Hispanic influences in the 1990s and 2000s. The research then incorporates survey data to determine how students of Cuban descent perceive their ethnic identity and what attitudes they hold towards the English and Spanish languages. The surveys will also compare the ethnic identities and perceived language attitudes of Cuban-immigrant youth and their parents to examine intergenerational differences. Lastly, the surveys will compare the perceived ethnic identities and language attitudes of students of Cuban descent, and students of non-Cuban Spanish-speaking descent from Latin America and the Caribbean, to determine intragenerational differences. Ultimately, the research asserts that students of Cuban descent are acculturating to American mainstream society, but they are doing so within the unique context of a Cuban and pan-Hispanic Miami.


acculturation; bilingualism; ethnicity; Cuban Miami; language attitudes