MVHS Spanish Honor Society attends annual inter district meeting

On Friday, March 30, MVHS Spanish Honor Society members and officers trickled into the Lynbrook HS library. They gathered for the annual interdistrict meeting, which brought together clubs from Cupertino HS, LHS and MVHS.

Organized by the LHS club officers, the event was last held in 2016.

“We wanted to continue this year because it was really fun to integrate our school with MVHS, and [Cupertino HS],” LHS co-president senior Aurelia Yang said. “It was great to see how other schools do things and to get new ideas.”

The LHS students were able to contact MVHS SHH through their advisor, and they quickly agreed to the meeting.

“It’s a great way for people at our school to reach out other students in other schools,” SHH president Arjun Subramonian said.

Although only two non-officer members attended the meeting, Subramonian’s fellow officers plan to promote the event more next year. While the club has had a steady presence on campus in the past, the graduation of many officers in 2017 left the club struggling to survive. Putting on events like these in the community and encouraging members to go is part of their strategy to strengthen their membership base.

“We just need an opportunity to reach out,” Subramonian said. “Just getting beyond on the confines of the school is part of the rebuilding process.”

For those who did show up, like junior Gahan Lahiri, the allure of an officer position in SHH was the main draw. But Lahiri also has a passion for learning languages that first drew him to the club. A frequent traveler, he and his family compete to see who can learn the most words and phrases in the native tongue of the country they’re in.

“Most [native speakers] laughed because my accent was terrible, but they understand what I’m trying to say,” Lahiri said. “I knew like I wasn’t doing quite right, but the fact that I was able to get my point across in a language that I didn’t know was really fun.”

Spanish is unique since it is the first language that Lahiri has learned in a formal setting. He finds that the conversational pace of SHH meetings help him improve his Spanish, not unlike his adventures into foreign tongues while abroad.

In order to give more MVHS students access to this space for improvement and growth, Subramonian and the other SHH officers want to expand the club outside of the confines of MVHS through events like the inter district meeting.

“We just need more experience in the Hispanic culture,” Subramonian said.

The club also plans to expand its presence within the school, through selling pan dulce at fundraisers after school and participating in culture night. SHH also intends on holding more interclub events; after a successful Franish, an event where SHH and French Honor Society hold a joint meeting. Although the club has been exclusively for students taking Spanish at MVHS in the past, they plan to expand membership by recruiting students taking other languages as well.

“We are spreading the Spanish culture to a lot more students taking Spanish [class],” Subramonian said. “We want to expand beyond those students.”


Sociedad Honoraria Hispana participates in Hurricane Relief Week

After devastating hurricanes, earthquakes and other natural disasters hitting worldwide in the past few weeks, MVHS clubs and class officers decided to throw a Hurricane Relief Week to raise money for relief efforts. Each day of the week featured a different fundraiser, and on Sept. 28, la Sociedad Honoraria Hispana, or Spanish Honor Society, participated in a joint fundraiser. SHH, together with National Honor Society and the Indian American Student Association, sold samosas and horchata, raising money which will be donated to the Red Cross.

“We were thinking about how we could address the issues because we saw that it was really affecting communities around the country,” ASB vice president senior Santosh Sivakumar said. “We knew that some clubs had already started efforts to do those and we wanted to consolidate it all into one week.”

After coordinating with Leadership, National Honor Society invited SHH to join the fundraiser too. SHH welcomed the opportunity to work with other service clubs. Senior Pranav Varanasi, public relations officer for SHH, said there was no competition between the different clubs, and they all just tried to help out.

It’s a community effort so we’re just all working together,” Varanasi said.

NHS members senior Ryan Lee and sophomore Sean Chen sell samosas and horchata during Hurricane Relief Week. NHS, SHH and IASA worked together on this fundraiser. Photo by Sannidhi Menon
NHS members senior Ryan Lee and sophomore Sean Chen sell samosas and horchata during Hurricane Relief Week. NHS, SHH and IASA worked together on this fundraiser.
Photo by Sannidhi Menon

After joining the fundraiser, the club decided to bring some Hispanic culture to the event, and sold horchata, a cold drink often made with a base of milk and ground nuts, wheat or rice, that is common in Spain and Latin America.  

“When it’s hot, [horchata is] a very refreshing drink, and we thought that the weather called for it,” Varanasi said.

For many students, this was their first exposure to the drink, and club members had their hands full explaining what horchata was made from.

“It was a little bit difficult to explain to people because at first it kinda looked like something that’s unnatural and something that’s a little bit weird to people,” Varanasi said. “So we had to explain what it was and then once they drank it most people liked it, and they actually came back for more.”

Senior Pooja Dandekar tries horchata for the first time. SHH decided on horchata because of its connection to Hispanic culture and its appropriateness for the hot weather. Photo by Sannidhi Menon
Senior Pooja Dandekar tries horchata for the first time. SHH decided on horchata because of its connection to Hispanic culture and its appropriateness for the hot weather.
Photo by Sannidhi Menon

Senior Pooja Dandekar was one of those skeptics. She wasn’t about to turn down a cold drink on a hot day, but having never tried horchata before, she was unsure of what to expect.

“I didn’t even know what it was, or how to pronounce it,” Dandekar said.

But she found herself pleasantly surprised, and even went back for more. The club even sold out of the drink, making over $50 for the relief effort.

“We’re mainly just doing whatever we can to help and volunteer,” Varanasi said.

This fundraiser was a key example of how school clubs, leadership and the student body are coming together to face global issues. And as natural disasters ravage the globe, MVHS will continue to show support for relief efforts worldwide.

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MVHS Spanish Honor Society celebrates the Cry of Dolores

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.”

Fashion Club holds Spring Fashion Show

Every year, Monta Vista Fashion Club holds and annual fashion show at the end of the year to showcase all of the members’ hard work throughout the year. This year was no exception, as their Spring Fashion Show held on May 20 featured skirts, tops and other designs.

Aditi’s collection

As it’s her last year at MVHS, Fashion Club co-president senior Aditi Jain went with a lingerie-style look that showcased the power of a woman’s body.

“I’m kind of really into the idea of feminism… so I wanted to create a collection that allows women to feel more free with their sexuality and their body image,” Jain said. “That’s why I created looks inspired by lingerie and loungewear.”

Jain looked to Rihanna’s post-Grammy’s look for inspiration for her collection. With her desire to make a statement about women’s empowerment and end her Fashion Club career with a bang, Jain left her impact on the runway.

Kavin’s collection

Kavin's Collection

Every year, co-president junior Kavin Sivakumar travels to India and visits textile stores to look at different fabrics. This year, he had the chance to see a lot of interesting prints, especially ones that were reversible, which started to inspire his collection. Sivakumar then branched out into implementing bows, as it was an easy way to incorporate embellishment onto his pieces. “I’ve always believed that clothes aren’t for male and female, everybody can wear anything they wish, in my opinion, and I wanted to make things that could be worn by everybody,” Sivakumar said, “so maybe the bows could be preferred by someone who dresses more feminine, the front side could be preferred by someone who dresses more masculine.”

Chantelle’s collection

Chantelle's Collection

Sophomore Chantelle Chang’s collection was inspired by what she wears on a daily basis. The Fashion Show treasurer looked for comfortable fabrics like cotton and redesigned them so they would be more versatile.

For Chang, it was also a challenge to create an entire collection on her own, without the help of her fellow officers. However, the challenge made her collection even more special when it was showcased on the runway and helped her enjoy the unique nature of the fashion show.

“It’s not rehearse, rehearse until it’s perfect, it’s rehearse, rehearse until we like it,” Chang said. “[Fashion] is very opinionated and it’s just about showing who you are and what you want to define yourself as.”

New York passes law for free college tuition at state schools

New York governor Andrew Cuomo recently signed a law authorizing the Excelsior Scholarship program, which is designed to provide tuition for students going to public colleges and state universities families earn less than $125,000. But tuition-free college is not new to the United States. In fact, the University of California system originally provided free undergraduate education for state residents.

Fashion Club members gather for first sewing session of year

Fashion Club members gathered at senior Aditi Jain’s house on Feb. 2 to start preparing garments for the spring fashion show. Sewing sessions are designed to give members  designated time to make garments from their designs and get help from more experienced club officers. Members bring sketches of their designs and spend the session cutting out fabric and draping it around a mannequin to see how their garments will fit on a model.

Jain finds sewing sessions extremely helpful, since she doesn’t always have time to make clothes. Sewing sessions give her an assigned time to prepare for the spring fashion show.

Click through the photo gallery below to see Fashion Club members transform their sketches into reality.

Fashion Club Sewing Session

Inspiration behind the fabric

MV Fashion Club is known for its elaborate fashion shows, in which each designer creates their own unique look. Their hard work is then modeled on the runway at the end of the semester.

At the beginning of this semester, Fashion Club started off with a planning session, where they looked through magazines for inspiration and made mood boards with pictures from them to decide what their pieces would be for the upcoming fashion show.
Hover over the images to see the inspiration behind their designs.