Latino students take the lead in new club

The+Latino+Leadership+Club+assisted+with+Interact%27s+Christmas+present+donations.

Alyssa Gurgone

The Latino Leadership Club assisted with Interact’s Christmas present donations.

Sydney Fritts, Staff Writer

Last year, Cary-Grove added a new extracurricular activity to its list of offerings: the Latino Leadership Club.

Spanish teachers Mrs. Bachta and Mrs. Matthias founded the group. To them, it is more than an in-school club; it’s a leadership program.  

“I contacted people, and we actually have an executive board, with the help of the district as well as Mr. Sargeant,” Mrs. Matthias said.

Students in the Latino Leadership Club celebrate with a meal of Latino cuisine.
Alyssa Gurgone
Students in the Latino Leadership Club celebrate with a meal of Latino cuisine.

“We wanted to do something for the Latinos here,” Mrs. Bachta said. “Our purpose is to aim to empower the Latino students through cultures, service, and leadership through the community.”

The whole point is for Latino students to be able to stay in touch with their culture and to feel that they can “maintain their roots while being assimilated into the American culture,” she said.

Mrs. Bachta was in a similar club in high school, as well as a coed Latino fraternity at Illinois State University.

“I want to help them break through negative stereotypes that some people have and to have people realize that they, too, can be leaders in the school,” Mrs. Bachta said.

The leadership group also helps out academically, including finding scholarships for colleges and getting help in order for students to afford their education.

“We want to take a day for them to come to the college career center and see the different opportunities they have,” Mrs. Bachta said. As a student, she received a $20,000 scholarship just by being Latina and keeping her grades up. The group recently hosted a guest speaker, Juan Ortiz, who presented to them on the opportunities that they have.

They are also involved with Cary-Grove activities like superfanning at soccer games, adopting families during the holidays, participating in diabetes and cancer walks, and volunteering to read to the Latino students at the local elementary schools.

Mrs. Matthias said they “require volunteer hours because it is more than just a club; it is about leadership.”

They also have the club because, for the same reason every club is created, they want the kids to be involved in something, “especially something that has leadership,” Mrs. Matthias said. “Activities sponsored by the Latino Leadership Club will be exactly that- sponsored by them, not just attended by them, so more people will want to become a part of it.”

If you are interested in being a part of Latino Leadership Club, you can join them in C3 after school on Thursdays. They are currently looking for more activities to sponsor as well as families to help out during the holidays.