Latinos take action around the community

Allie Nichols, Layout/Design manager

Latinos in Actions has become a very prominent class over this school year. It is taught by Jeanette Pérez who also teaches ESOL and Spanish, and the president is Luis Mendez. He called the group an “enriching and compassionate family” because he immediately noticed the dedicated and motivated characteristics of the group. According to Mendez, “I found myself inspired in this program.” 


He went on to talk about experiences they shared, “We have gone to County Board meetings with SuperIntendent Griffin; we have met and collaborated with the founder of LIA, and we have gone to senior centers, elementary schools, and middle schools within SPCS.” Going to the schools, according to Mendez, “[leaves] a legacy to generations to come by promoting this hispanic leadership development program and impacting everyone we meet.”


They have done a number of school broadcasted events, like the Winter and Valentine’s candy grams, and some not as well known. They went to South Seminole Academy Middle School on Wednesday, February 23 to recruit possible new members and inform incoming students about high school life. More than just presenting a boring lecture, the team provided another engaging powerpoint with tip-of-the-iceberg information about the wonderful world of WSHS.


Mendez shared an inside perspective about the middle school visit. He said they realized that they had to step outside their comfort zones in order to serve a greater cause of contributing to the collective community of SCPS. The LIA motto is “Be the change,” and although their actions were limited by COVID-19, they are devoted to making their program heard. 


There are three separate Vice Presidents, Yignara Coronado (service committee), Sharimar Vargas (social committee), and Vianka Pérez (professional committee). The Co-historians are Jehieliz Hernandez and Karilys Ramos-Perez, and the secretary is Maria Patiño


Coronado described LIA as “groundbreaking and pioneering” and said the club is all about “decreasing the gap between the Latino-American culture and the American one.” They aim to become better, more-involved citizens rather than “live in discontent because of [their] position as a minority.” Coronado couldn’t decide on a favorite memory, for all of them “proved our capabilities as a group and let us cooperate with each other.”


Other members of the group also gave their passions about the class. Sharimar Vargas explained that the class aims to enhance the community through leadership and hands-on activities and help further develop leadership skills for the future. She very much enjoyed Parent Night because they did a fun presentation. She continued, “even though we were not able to have a face-to-face Parent Orientation Night, we had a blast doing online activities such as Kahoots and more.”


Maria Lowry stated that LIA is more than just a class, for she “[found] many amazing people, people [she] consider[s] close friends. We’ve helped each other just as much as our community.” Lowry loved making Valentine’s day cards for senior citizens at a nearby assisted living center which were displayed in the window with messages. 


Nicholas Parra claimed the immersive class’s goal is to help people grow in themselves and the reach of Latinos everywhere. He fondly recalled seeing the happy faces of elementary school kids when they gave out Christmas presents. He expressed his gratitude, “Their faces were beyond what I had expected, they were so happy to get a Christmas present that it made me realize all I take for granted.”


Sara Aguinaga Pelaez said LIA is all about giving opportunities, and her favorite memory was going to tutor elementary kids which got them excited and motivated for school. Latinos in Action can’t wait to see what the upcoming students do with their newfound second family.