Spanish students at Calallen High School participated in an induction ceremony for the Sociedad Honoraria Hispanica, which is the Spanish National Honor Society, on March 24 at the CHS Auditorium.
This was the inaugural induction ceremony for the organization, which was recently created at the campus to recognize the achievements of the students in Spanish language and to continue to promote an interest in Hispanic studies.
The local CHS Chapter, "Juventud Bohemia," inducted 39 students, ranging from freshman to senior class members. The organization is sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese and at present includes over 2,000 active chapters around the world.
Calallen Independent School District Superintendent Arturo Almendarez served as the guest speaker at the event. Almendarez said having such an organization on campus would widen opportunities for both student achievement as well as student recognition.
"The study of foreign language is important. It opens the door to a deeper understanding with others and helps us to find the humanity in each other," Almendarez said. "It allows us to drop our focus on differences, which is something people do."
As a Rotary Club member, Almendarez said that organization has sponsored students to study in foreign countries, and more than 80 percent of the students go to a country where Spanish is the dominant language. Almendarez said students don't have to only look abroad, but in their own backyards.
He said the study of languages is very important, especially with the makeup of the community in the area.
"There is a reality here that is hard to deny. Many of the employment opportunities in our area are in service to our community, law enforcement, medical and social work, and other employment are enhanced by the person who can speak Spanish," Almendarez said.
Almendarez said students who pursue Spanish as part of their education can also see monetary savings at the college level, should they take the Spanish Advanced Placement Exam in high school, while in Spanish 3 or 4.
If students score a "5" on the Spanish AP exam, they could get up to 24 hours of college credit, which would equate to a minor in Spanish at most colleges and universities, which would save the student more than $10,000 in class tuition for classes those students would not have to take.
"I challenge each and every one of you to embrace the values of this organization and become ambassadors in our community, promoting all the values this organization aspires to," Almendarez said. "Each and every time you're offered an opportunity, serve, work hard, and remember you have become proud members of this organization. Set the standard for those who will follow you."
Inductees this year include freshmen students Arizeth Alaniz, Katrina Gibbs, Layton Hart, Nicholas Lastrapes, Ebony Lopez, Armando Munguia, Megan Rosas, Cori Snyder, Reagan Tompkins, Justin Vance and Sarah Vance.
Sophomore inductees were Claudia Butti, Christian Cantu, Thomas Conroy, Marina De La Paz, Jade Driver, Steven Gralinski, Kiah Hinojosa, Caitlin Holt, Ally Karagas, Haein Kim, Tate Kirby, Bryce Kneip, Elizabeth Lopez, Brandon McGinnis, Rachel Pesek, Nicholas Pucket, Megan Segundo, Allison Silva, Julie Williams and Corey Wittig.
Junior class inductees are Tate Bammert, Hayley Brandt, Kathrine Brickley, Josiah Knapick and Lucio Lopez.
Senior inductees were Bhavika Bhakta, Courtney Garcia and Christian Monterroso.
Students inducted into the Spanish National Honors Society are required to have taken Spanish 2 or higher, hold a cumulative grade point average in all Spanish classes of 90 or higher and a cumulative GPA overall of 85 or higher.
Inductees must not have any unexcused absences, no more than three tardies and must not have been issued any disciplinary referrals.
For entertainment during the ceremony, the local Salsa club, "Tumbao," danced to the song "La Vida es un Carnaval."
Sophomore Allison Silva said it was an honor to be inducted into the Sociedad Honoraria Hispanica.
"An organization like this will look very good, as colleges look at our students when making their decisions," Silva said. "I want to be active in the organization next year as well."
For fellow classmate Tate Kirby, the possibility of studying abroad is a big attraction for her to the organization.
"Well, they are doing a trip, either to Spain or France, or to Costa Rica, and I'm very excited to learn about other cultures and different dialects to the language they speak," Kirby said.