School Activities Support Latinos

By Alba Melendez 
    Latino students have a special place every Thursday from 2:15 to 3:30 in a very special classroom. The room is 163. That is the room where the Hispanic Club meets.
   In the Hispanic Club students get the chance to enjoy fun activities related to their culture and to learn a very important lesson of how to get a better fulfilling future with great opportunities. The Hispanic Club is a program that helps Latino students keep and practice their heritage.
    In the Hispanic Club the students can learn to dance traditional dances. But the Hispanic Club also teaches students that the Hispanic culture is not only food and dances. In the club the students get to see how the Hispanic culture is more than what meets the eye, “We are people able to do the same things the other cultures do,” said Ms. Castro, the head of the Club and a Spanish teacher at Blair.
    The Hispanic Club also helps students to see a way of going to college from a different point of view. It helps students to see college as a way of success. “We try to motivate students to go to college,” said Ms. Castro.
    When the Hispanic Club was created its main mission was for the Latino students to have a place where they could have fun and feel comfortable. With time another mission was added. Students were motivated to attend a college or university so they could have a better life than the one their parents had. With this new goal of the Hispanic Club more students got the chance to be more serious and started making the decision to go to college and have a degree.
    A difficulty that the Club faces is the little interest from Hispanic students who think that life is nothing more than working in a fast food restaurant for little money. “A college education is needed for Hispanic students because it gives them power and it levels them up in society,” said Ms. Castro.
    Students also join the Hispanic Club because they get information about different scholarships, grants and other programs that give money for college.
    Just by being involved in the club students learn more about their culture and also get a great deal - “They get community service hours from attending the meetings,” added Ms. Castro.
Platicas Latinas
    Platicas Latinas is a branch of the Hispanic Club. In this program students get the chance to listen to other people who are Hispanic, too, and who have achieved things in life. “The Platicas Latinas helped many of my students in the past. Some of the students that got out of Blair couple of years come back and do a Platica of how they achieved their goals,” said Ms. Castro.
Spanish for Spanish Speakers Classes
    The Spanish for Spanish Speakers classes that are taught at Blair and are classes that mainly focus on the Latino students. These classes are specialized for the students that already speak Spanish.
    In the classes the students get to learn more of their cultures than what they already know. Also in the classes the Latino students get to have the chance to take the advanced placement (AP) Spanish test and the AP literature test. “Last year all of the students who took the test had a five, but one who had a four,” said Ms. Castro referring to the Spanish Literature test done in May of 2003. Five is the highest score a student can get. Students with a three or higher can receive college credit for a high school AP course.
    The Hispanic Club, Platicas Latinas and the Spanish for Spanish Speakers classes are always connected in one way or another. Both Platicas Latinas and the Hispanic Club have the same mission for the Latino students which is to “help students get a college degree,” Ms. Castro repeated. Students get motivated by looking at what they can accomplish later in life.
    If you are not in the Hispanic Club and simply do not join it because you think it is not a good experience, Ms. Castro wants you to join it or to at least go to one meeting and check it out. “If you feel interested you are always welcomed,” said Ms. Castro.
(After this article was written, Ms. Castro’s room, which is the Hispanic Club meeting room, was changed to PT2. )
© Copyright Silver International Newspaper, Montgomery Blair H.S. 2004 (This page was created by Quynh Nguyen)