French, Spanish Honor Societies at Santa Maria High School Celebrate Cultural Friday
Fund for Santa Barbara grants assist students’ May 3 event
Friday, May 3, 2019
by Kenny Klein
The Santa Maria High School French and Spanish honor societies will team up for Cultural Friday, 3:15-6:30 p.m. May 3, thanks to donations by The Fund For Santa Barbara.
The nonprofit community foundation supports organizations working for social, economic, environmental and political change in Santa Barbara County through Youth Making Change.
The French Society received a $700 grant to hold a Mardi Gras celebration to promote culture. All club members and their advisor French teacher Meena Akhavan sponsor the event.
The Spanish Honor Society was awarded a $2,310 grant to hold an event called Alivio al estrés, or Stress-Reliever. The event is a youth-led project by club members and their advisor Spanish teacher Mireya Luna-Covarrubias.
A third club, Las Comadres Club, also will join Cultural Friday with a Mexican theme booth, featuring sack potato races, a live music performance, a piñata, and flower-making and other crafts.
The grant acceptance ceremony was held before The Minerva Club in Santa Maria. Both club officers gave a speech about the benefits and importance of their events.
“This opportunity allows our youth to make positive connections with the community and our school, build leadership skills, and celebrate cultural activities that will bring good change,’’ Akhavan said.
Students said they are ready to defeat stress that finals and the end of the school year can cause.
“Due to the increase in mental health issues, we are trying to offer students a better way to handle stress in their everyday lives,” said Angie Balderas, Spanish Honor Society member. “The rate of depression and anxiety among teenagers has increased 70 percent in the past 25 years.
“While the number of young people and children that have mental health issues has doubled since 2009, we are trying to change those statistics of mental health issues.”
“I’m very excited and looking forward to the event,” said John Barajas, Spanish Honor Society member. “Last year, I was just a member and I enjoyed the event so much it made me want to come back and join again but this time push for an officer position.
“The partnership with French Honor Society is also a big one for us. Never have we ever done this. This is truly an event that should not be missed.”
“The event that we’re bringing to life will help expose a different culture throughout the community,” said Gabby Martinez, a senior. “French is an amazing language/culture, and we have a great group helping organize this event.
“We all want the same outcome and hope for an even more diverse community.’’
“This event will be so much fun. This event will allow students to come together and get along participating in all activities,” said Julissa Diaz Arredondo, a senior. “I think that in this event students will get to learn a little bit of the French culture and hopefully want to learn more.”