Around thirty people trickle into Spanish teacher Maria Autran’s room at lunch on Sept. 14. They’re here for a meeting of La Sociedad Honoraria Hispana (SHH), or MVHS’ Spanish Honor Society. Many members see the club as an opportunity to learn more about the culture of Spanish-speaking countries, a topic not always covered in the classroom.
“I joined in sophomore year because…I like Spanish…but the problem was we weren’t really learning a lot about culture,” junior Nandini Sarkar said.
Although she’s an officer, she still learns new things every meeting. On their Sept. 14 meeting for example, she learned for the first time about the Grito de Dolores, or Cry of Dolores, which kickstarted the Mexican Revolution.
It all started on Sept. 16 1810, in the small town of Dolores, Mexican hero Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla rang his church bell, and it served as a call to arms that started the Mexican War of Independence. Now, the current president of Mexico re-enacts the Call of Dolores every year before Independence Day.
SHH played a clip of this re-enactment for its members at the beginning of the meeting. As the president yelled proclamations, the crowd repeated after him in a patriotic frenzy. But as Autran explained, not all Mexicans attend the celebration. Growing up in Mexico D. F., Autran recalls only ever watching it on TV, if ever.
“My parents were not that interested because…the way politics is in the country, [the ceremony is] a little controversial, so many people as a protest actually don’t attend,” Autran said.
After the video, the members played Kahoot based on trivia from the video, and then ate flan. The friendly competition helped get members interested and invested in Hispanic history and culture, even if they weren’t that interested to begin with.
Sophomore Janani Kumar joined the club because her sister suggested it, and doesn’t have the time to research or learn about Spanish culture in her free time, so she sees meetings as an easy way to fit this into her schedule.
“If I come to the meeting and they teach us about it, I’ll learn it but I won’t go out of my way in my free time to research about it,” Kumar said.
Although different members may have different motivations for joining, they all share a common love for Spanish and Hispanic culture.
“I just like learning about different places, I’m interesting in learning more languages and stuff,” Sarkar said, “but I feel like it’s also important when you’re learning a language to learn about the customs and traditions that people have.”