“Well Spanish club has been at Lake View for years. It’s ranged from maybe five members to 13 members and we decided we wanted to continue it because it was something positive for the kids. When we finally moved into this main building, I was just a co-sponsor at that point but I really wanted to push it. So we went from 13 the previous year to 54,” Lorie Castanuela-Thiers, Lake View High School Spanish Club Sponsor said.
Originally a co-sponsor, Castanuela-Thiers, took over the program about seven years ago. Since then, it’s seen exponential growth.
“I really wanted to stay positive with in and give the kids lots of things to do. So then the numbers jumped, in the last few years I’ve had it, we’ve had up to 96 members,” Castanuela-Thiers said.
She said after speaking with students, she noticed a pattern.
“I saw that there were kids who wanted to belong to something. We would talk and getting to learn the kids and see what they wanted to do in class, and they would say ‘well there’s not any club that I can be a part of. I don’t have the grades for NHS, I don’t have art skills to be in art club, I don’t really like science so I don’t wanna be in science club,’ so I said well there’s got to be something you like. So Spanish Club takes everyone, you don’t have to speak Spanish you just have to have the “I want to do something to help the community, help our school,” Castanuela-Thiers said.
As far as community service goes, the club is very active in multiple initiatives around the Concho Valley.
“We do everything from doing the canned food drive, to buying Christmas presents for the women at the women’s shelter, we do the Adopt A Child off of the Angel Tree at Walmart, Adopt a Highway, and we have the fall festivals for the elementary schools, so we actually do things for our feeder schools as well. We always have a Christmas party for the kids to give back to them as well and they enjoy that, at the very end of the year we also have a trip for the kids to see an authentic Ballet Folklorico in San Antonio,” Castanuela-Thiers said.
During Hispanic Heritage Month, and year ’round, Castanuela-Thiers says it’s important for Hispanic and Latino students to learn about their culture because sometimes they don’t get those lessons at home.
“As we see more and more youngsters coming into the school, they are afraid to embrace their culture. They’re afraid to speak it or their parents said, ‘you’re going to get in trouble. Don’t speak Spanish at school’ they’re not teaching their own children Spanish at home and so it’s kind of dying out. But those who know Spanish embrace it. And I always tell the kids not to be embarrassed about speaking Spanish, in fact, you are resource for someone else. So when we go out and we do events, I encourage those kids to who speak Spanish to actually speak to patrons and the kids enjoy it so they learn from each other,” Castanuela-Thiers said.
For her overall message, she wants others to know that even if a member is not Hispanic or has not yet embraced their culture, the Lake View Spanish Club is a place of acceptance and positivity.
“It’s part of our core value as Hispanics, you embrace the family, you embrace the love of giving and having that unity, and the ones who are already native speakers they take in those who are not and encourage them so it’s a good positive thing,” Castanuela-Thiers said.
Mensaje en Español: