The Hispanic Leadership Club is an emerging group of students that all have one goal in mind: to unite the Hispanic community within West Potomac.
This is the club’s second year and is led by junior Angie Muguruza with Ms. Lodge’s guidance. There are five leaders and around 20 total members. Their recent achievements have been hosting the food fair in December, marching in the Hispanic Heritage month parade, and planning a Winter Dance in February.
Angie Muguruza believes that the first step of uniting the entire school is to unite the Hispanic community. According to Muguruza, students from countries like El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras tend to congregate into smaller groups. Despite coming from Spanish speaking countries, the small differences in slang and pronunciation are enough to cause this separation. They hold their meetings at the end of every month on Thursdays in T-11. Typically in meetings, there are presentations on one of the hispanic countries with food and music accompanying to provide an immersive experience.
Another goal of the HLC is to provide a mentoring role for new Hispanic ESOL students. Muguruza adds that many students that just arrived to America are not familiar to the public school system; many do not even know what electives are.
Last year, the HLC met with former Principal Alex Case to discuss plans for building a stronger Hispanic community. The leaders of HLC proposed a counselor specifically for ESOL students. Mr. Arroyo was chosen to fill this need and helps new ESOL students integrate into the school system. Mr. Arroyo speaks Spanish and works with translators to make sure students understand the school system and their options with courses. Graduated from George Mason University, majoring in counseling and development, he wishes to expand the work he has done this year and play larger role in the ESOL community.
HLC also helps new ESOL students with English and assists with translations. Sometimes HLC prepares a “Motivational Wednesday” where the members take lesson plans of Motivational Monday and translate them into Spanish. They then present the information to ESOL classrooms during Wolverine Time on Wednesdays.
Outside of West Potomac, the HLC does community service. Last year, a group of HLC members volunteered to paint a African American church in Old Town. This year, from February to April, they taught students Spanish at Groveton Elementary School. Club Historian junior Dolores Aguilar is proud of their members and their motivation to do community service.
“I like community service because the ESOL Level 1s do not know about the service hour requirement to graduate. They do it with full intention to help the community,” She said.
The HLC’s plans for the future involve cooperating with other schools. Similar to West Potomac, schools such as Lee and Thomas Edison, are new to implementing their own Hispanic Leadership Club. The West Potomac leaders met with leaders from Lee and Edison to discuss plans and exchanged advice. They are hoping to cooperate with the West Potomac Leadership Club to plan future events for the school such as next year’s spirit weeks and pep rallies.
The HLC leaders hope for the club to continue to grow and encourages any student to participate in their meetings or events whether they are Hispanic or not.