Celebrating LatinX and Hispanic culture

After one year, the Spanish Honors Society continues to promote cultural awareness at different events.

The official emblem of the Spanish Honors Society is commonly used in various slideshows and events.

Courtesy of Katie Goss

The official emblem of the Spanish Honors Society is commonly used in various slideshows and events.

By Irene Banerjee

When most students think of Spanish, they mainly think of the Spanish year-long language classes taught at HHS because many take them throughout their high school years. However, junior Christina Smith has found a way to extend her knowledge of the Spanish language and culture beyond the classroom by creating the Spanish Honors Society.

According to Smith, who is the founder and co-president of Spanish Honors Society, founding the society was the most difficult part of the process. When she first developed the idea as a sophomore, she talked to her Spanish teacher, and was recommended to reach out to assistant principal Tom Kempf. He assisted Smith with establishing SHS in various ways, such as approving any fliers or announcements.

Officially created in February of 2022 and inducting 27 members in the following March, SHS has specific requirements for those who want to join: maintaining a 3.0 GPA, having an A in Spanish classes for the past three semesters of high school, as well as having current enrollment in any Spanish class. It is open to juniors and seniors, regardless of what level of Spanish they are taking. 

“A lot more students are aware of [SHS] so they strive to have better grades in Spanish because they want to join it,” Smith said. “Also, Spanish is a long-term thing. You can start it at a young age, you can do it in high school, and you can use it in college. [We show] people that Spanish can be a part of their lives even if they didn’t speak it fluently as a kid.”

Along with academic achievement, SHS strives to promote service events in order to give back to Huntley and the Spanish-speaking community as well. In the past school year alone, SHS has participated in decorating classrooms, Spooky Buddies, and Feed My Starving Children.

“We saw many little kids and they were excited going into [our] room [during Spooky Buddies],” social media manager Nancy Lopez Garcia said. “I remember we were decorating the room with a Day of the Dead theme, so that way people could figure out more about Spanish culture.”

Furthermore, the leadership team, as well as co-sponsors Kate Feinstein and Katie Goss, is pursuing District 158’s goals of achieving equity and bringing awareness of minority groups to the community. They are striving to emphasize diversity among different cultures, especially through their March event, World Language Week. 

“We’ve got committees for different events and even though we’re the Spanish Honors Society, we want to recognize all the different languages that are spoken in our community and [emphasize] the concept that it’s a smaller world than it seems sometimes,” Goss said. 

Students have taken in life-long lessons and opportunities from Spanish Honors Society, such as the positive impacts of community service, the importance of equity, as well as the importance of achieving goals and responsibilities. 

“[SHS] helped out with the Latinx event from RAD and I had a girl come up to me, she said, ‘Oh, who is this through?’” Smith said. “And I was like, ‘Oh, this is for RAD.’ And she was like, ‘It’s really nice seeing that I’m being represented.’ And that’s really cool. I want to do that more.”