By Sarah Colmenares, Vice-President of the LIA’s Social Committee of Class 2020-2021
Hispanics at Seminole High School are making an impact on the Sanford community in a way that many would have never thought of. Hispanics are the fastest growing ethnicity group in Seminole County. Seminole County is blessed to have schools like Seminole High School, which is the most diverse in all the county. According to the data, the school is composed by 33% White, 28% Black, and 25% Hispanic. Diversity in a school campus allows students to be more culturally aware and consider other’s perspectives and opinions beyond those that they have already formed in their childhood. Seminole High School gives students a platform to interact with people of all different backgrounds and mindsets, which prepares them for a vast and diverse professional world.
Knowing how diverse our school is and wanting to increase college readiness among Hispanic students, Dr. Rodriguez, SHS principal, and Mrs. Cardona, ESOL Director, decided to include the class of Latinos in Action (LIA) in Seminole High School. LIA joins alongside other leadership classes like Men and Women of Excellence, which empowers African Americans. LIA is a curriculum designed to empower Latino youth to lead and strengthen their communities through college and career readiness. This program is in twelve different states all over the United States, and it is part of the curriculum of more than 200 schools. Latinos in Action class accomplishes this by focusing on four pillars: leveraging personal & cultural assets, excelling in education, serving the community, and developing leadership skills. The LIA program allows students to serve as a role model, mentor, and literacy tutor for neighboring elementary school students.
Latinos in Action’s first year at Seminole High School has been a successful one. Latinos in Action worked hand in hand with the community. The class partnered with Pine Crest Elementary. Each LIA student had two Pine Crest ESOL students assigned. Twice a week they met with their tutees and help them improve their literacy skills. Jose Colon, President of Seminole High School LIA said, “The opportunity of collaborating with Pine Crest Elementary has been inspiring. As a tutor, it has helped me to develop my communication, professionalism, and empathy.” This has not only helped me, but it has also helped my tutees with their reading and writing skills.” SHS Latinos in Action Class also partnered with City Church this year to help distribute food to the community and during their Thanksgiving food drive. Gretchen Gómez SHS LIA’s Academic VP said, “Distributing food with City Church was an enriching experience. It helped me to have a different perspective; we forget to be grateful for all that we have. Distributing food made me realize how fortunate I am and how thankful I should be.” The class also received various workshops from prominent Hispanic leaders and entrepreneurs and a visit from the famous Dominican writer, Lidia Martinez de Macarrulla. Latinos in Action has been a powerful addition to Seminole High School.
If you would like to become a Latinos in Action mentor and/or would like to partner with the class to help monetarily with the community service activities, please contact Mrs. Danisha Rivera at 787-647-3248.