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The Greeley Voice

The Greeley Voice

OLAS Spanish Club Spotlight and Hispanic Heritage Month


Greeley’s expansive catalog of clubs caters to student interest in arts, academics, sports, and culture. The Organization of Latin American Students (OLAS) is one club at Greeley working to foster a more inclusive and accepting environment for Latinx students through educating, teaching, and appreciating other members’ cultures.

Spanish Teacher Profe Pretill & Senior Sophia Ivanov

As a freshman in 2021, current OLAS President Nicholas Silva and other Spanish-speaking students were asked by Spanish teacher Profe Naicy Pretill if they would like to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month on the morning announcements. This led to the creation of OLAS later that year. Their mission: foster a safe space for Latinx students and celebrate their culture while speaking Spanish.
September 15th marked the beginning of Hispanic Heritage Month, a celebration of Latin Americans and Spanish speakers all over the world. Contrary to other history months celebrated throughout the year, Hispanic Heritage Month starts in the middle of a month, aligning with the independence from Spain of Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Costa Rica. Other countries such as Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence day on September 16th and 18th respectively.

Hispanic Heritage Month is a time for everyone to appreciate the contributions of Latin and Spanish speaking Americans, as well as their history. OLAS continued their celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month through their presence on the morning and student life announcements, and with the Hispanic Heritage Fiesta Night, hosted on November 3rd. At Fiesta Night, live songs, dances, and short plays performed by community members, students, and teachers were supplemented with food from Mexcellent, Taco Street, and community members. OLAS is working to achieve their goal of expanding knowledge and acceptance of Hispanic and Latin American culture and people.For the first time this year, OLAS hosted an art contest in collaboration with the art department, in which the student body was invited to celebrate underrepresented pre-Columbian art. Colonization of North, Central, and South America, beginning in the fifteenth century, caused the erasure of First Peoples’s culture. The Spanish, who funded Christopher Columbus, took part in colonizing the Americas. During this time, many traditions and customs present in Latin America were eradicated, and many people were forced to assimilate to European cultures. Those who resisted were met with opposition. The art contest aims to fulfill OLAS’s goal of honoring current, as well as previously ignored and erased, Latin American culture.

Another of OLAS’s goals is becoming more connected with the student body. Spanish teacher and OLAS advisor Señora Donna Curtis greatly values involvement of students. “Knowing that students want to help is one thing,” Señora Curtis said, “but having them be truly involved in the club would make OLAS into a true organization.”
To club president Nicholas Silva, OLAS has allowed him to recognize the power that students can have when they use their voice, and gives him and the rest of OLAS the ability to change the school for the better. In a post quarantine world, he said, “There was not a lot for freshmen to do at that time, but the support and space for me to talk and give my ideas that OLAS has provided is very important because I feel like I can make a change in my community.” Being president is also a chance for him to get out of his comfort zone and take on a leadership role, giving him the opportunity to become a better student and individual.
Hispanic Heritage Month is not the only time to celebrate Hispanic heritage. As Señora Curtis said, “Hispanic Heritage Month isn’t just a date on a calendar.” Hispanic culture has a deep and meaningful impact on both American and world history; celebrating the influence of those from Latin America, Spain, and other Spanish-speaking countries is imperative, not just for one month but all year long.

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