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Episode 82: “Latinos In Action” Making a Difference Every Day at Copper Hills High

They are role models making a big difference at Copper Hills High School and in the community. We are talking about students in the “Latinos In Action” program.

On this episode of the Supercast, we visit a “Latinos In Action” class and talk to some amazing students who take great pride in who they are, where they are going in education and the good they do for others on a daily basis.


Audio Transcription

Anthony Godfrey:
Welcome to the Supercast. I'm your host, Superintendent Anthony Godfrey. They are role models making a big difference at Copper Hills High School and in the community. We're talking about students in the Latinos in Action program. On this episode of the Supercast, we visit a Latinos in action class and talk to some amazing students who take great pride in who they are, where they're going in education and the good they do for others on a daily basis. We're here with Ms. Oda at Copper Hills High School, the advisor of Latinos in Action. And you have a couple of classes as well. Tell us a little bit about Latinos in Action for those who don't know what it is.

Ms. Oda:
All right. It's a class as well as a club primarily for Latino students, but we allow anyone to join if they're interested. And we focus on education, leadership, service, and culture. So as a class, we will learn about cultures from the Latino communities we'll learn about each other. Usually this year is that's the case cause of COVID, but normally we go and tutor at neighboring elementary schools and they are paired with other elementary students and help them with their reading skills and sometimes their math skills. And so that's actually one of their favorite parts of being part of LIA is being able to interact with the younger students and kind of be those roles

Anthony Godfrey:
Or a lot of activities at the school, but also outreach to the community. Tell me a little bit about that.

Ms. Oda:
Yeah. I mean, being part of the class is more than just showing up to class. There's a lot expected of them to participate in other socials that we may have in service projects and fundraisers. So yeah, some of them are within the school, but also just to help the community in general.

Anthony Godfrey:
And some folks might think that this is just something unique to Copper Hills, but the Latinos in Action is highly organized at the state level. In fact, I was supposed to pre-COVID attend a conference and an event for students and for the advisors. Explain the organization and really what it's about.

Ms. Oda:
Yeah. It actually is a really big program and now reaches outside of Utah. It's also in other states such as Florida, California. I'm not exactly sure all of them, but there are quite a few now, and it's had a really positive effect on students. They're really able to embrace their Latino culture and be proud of it. But also gain confidence in themselves academically and their skills. And so they're able to help them gain confidence to join other parts that of school culture that they may not have joined previously.

Anthony Godfrey:
So by being part of Latinos in Action, it may be a launchpad to be involved in a lot of other things at school and to connect in other ways.

Ms. Oda:
A lot of my students especially my officers who show leadership and LIA have re branched out and become really great strong students in other subjects as well.

Anthony Godfrey:
How many members do you have.

Ms. Oda:
Between the two classes we may have around 70. And we also have more students that are part of the club, so maybe they couldn't fit it in their schedule and so they may attend the socials and other activities.

Anthony Godfrey:
Just talking with some of the students. They definitely live up to the name, Latinos in Action. They don't sit around and plan and think about things. They take off and they get things done. And it's incredible the number of things they have going on at the school and out in the community.

Ms. Oda:
Yeah, it's true. Honestly, as an adviser, I am here just to advise. They do everything. I'm here to be the adult in the room and they take over and I love it. It's really impressive how they just take charge and make it what it is. You may have noticed, I'm not Latina. I don't speak Spanish. I volunteered to do this. I actually was the LIA Advisor at Pason High School for one year and then I transferred schools. When I came here, I actually told them that I was interested in it. I think it's a really important organization. I, myself am half white, half Japanese. And so although I don't fit in necessarily the Latino culture, I think it's really important for people to be proud of where their family may come from, their differences and how they can use that as their strength. So, although I am not Latino myself, I really enjoyed this program.

Anthony Godfrey:
And the sense of belonging this created, it's not just within Latinos in Action. It's a connection to the broader school community.

Ms. Oda:
Yeah. And I've seen how their friendships within here have reached out to other classrooms and stuff. And so it is nice to see. But they always say, if you're part of LIA, you're part of the familia, the LIA familia. So it really is like a family. And you can see in the beginning of the year, it may be a little awkward. People don't know each other. But by the end of the year, you can tell it's a completely different class.

Anthony Godfrey:
And that's what we hope for every student, that there's some way to connect some way to identify yourself with school. Whether it's band, whether if it's athletics, it's a club, it's some connection. And this provides a connection that then creates other connections beyond this.

Ms. Oda:
Yep. It's true. I see it, the catalyst for a lot of things.

Student:
And so for my presentation, I picked through the course discussion. So first there's different channels you can take. But then one of the most that attracts most toys is late. And you could tell, it takes about four days, but obviously there's places you've stopped to eat or sleep and stuff. And then at the end, there's much be too, which it to be believed a religious place for Inca leaders. And then it was only discovered like besides the people that were around there until 1911 by an Explorer. And it takes a lot to be found because that was his purpose to try to be hidden.

Student:
Cuba is an island located in the Caribbean sea. The size of 40,000 square miles with a population of 11,000,300, 317,818. Cuba has many different habitats from mountains, forest to jungles and grasslands.

Anthony Godfrey:
Tell us about the presentations that the students were doing in class today.

Ms. Oda:
So they were able to choose any of the Latin American countries and then a topic within that. So like today we had some presentations about Peru and Cuba. A lot of my students are Mexican or Venezuelan and we've got some students from other countries as well, but they're doing a lot of the other countries that we don't know as much about.

Anthony Godfrey:
Is this kind of to expand their view of the number of really Latin American countries?

Ms. Oda:
Yeah. Because the culture differ so greatly from each other and we've also been practicing learning where all the different Latin American countries are. We know of different people that are like, Oh, I'm from Guatemala. And you're like, well, where exactly. So we're learning those right now too. And so that's been actually pretty interesting because when you understand where countries are in relation to the others, you actually understand a lot more about the cultures.

Anthony Godfrey:
Well, thanks for letting us spend time with you and thanks for everything you're doing for Latinos in Action.

Ms. Oda:
Well, thank you. It's been fun.

Anthony Godfrey:
Stay with us to hear more from students who are part of Latinos in Action.

Break:
If you're ready to start your child on the path to personalized learning, we are ready to help. The Jordan Virtual Learning Academy is coming to Jordan School District in the 2021-22 school year. Three new schools will be opening as part of the Academy, Rocky Peak Virtual Elementary School, Kelsey Peak Virtual Middle School, and King's Peak High School. Each school will have their own principal and teachers and each will give students a choice in their own learning. The schools will offer synchronous learning, which is teachers providing real time, live online instruction and asynchronous learning where teachers provide videotaped instruction for learning on a student's schedule. To register your student in the Jordan Virtual Learning Academy, visit http://connect.jordandistrict.org.

Anthony Godfrey:
I'm here with the officers of Latinos in Action. Hi everybody. Let's meet all the officers.

Student:
Hi, my name is Kiana Tapia and I'm one of the vice-presidents. What we do is mostly focus on being the big brother or the big sister. We like to be the person to welcome people into the club to make sure they know they're included. We also work with fundraisers. But for the most part, we do focus on just making sure people know that they have a place here and that they're welcome.

Student:
Hi, I'm Elizabeth Fuentez, I'm the Education Leader. What we do is introduce colleges here around the state, just so the students can get to know what universities or colleges are available to them, and also the scholarships that can help them.

Student:
Hello. My name is Kim Robles. I am President of the Latinos in Action. My position consists of taking all these ideas and bringing them all together to see how it flows best because we have eight great minds here. And you know, sometimes we need someone to collect all of our thoughts. And I also help promote the club and go around and encourage members in LIA to participate as much as they can and members outside to join.

Student:
Hi, my name is Ari Valenzuela and I'm the other Vice President for Latinos in Action. And we just oversee all the other positions and make sure that everybody gets the help they need. And if they need help with organizing socials or service activities, we're there to provide that support.

Student:
Hi, my name is Daniela Garcia. I am the Service Officer. I am in charge of making sure that we have the service activities provided for the community and outside of the community. I get the ideas going and then I come up with things that we could possibly do and then, whether or not they're approved, then we could do them. And it seems like a good turnout. It's really wonderful.

Student:
Hi, I'm Brian Siradi. I'm the LIA Secretary. My job is really just to kind of summarize the whole LIA. If there's notes, those are mine. I need to take the notes and if there's money involved, I need to take care of the money. I just kinda help everyone else. So if the person needs help, I'm there. If the Vice-President needs help, I'm there. You know, I really just, I'm here as a support.

Anthony Godfrey:
It sounds like everyone has that perspective. If something needs to be down, I'm going to jump in and do it.

Student:
Hello. I'm Daniella Custello, and I am the Historian. I help make the memories in this club. I am in charge of the Instagram account. I take pictures of any social, any activities that we're doing, which helps let people know what we're doing in these classes, and also let people have the memories that we're doing in here. We've been previously doing birthdays, which helps. People know that we care about them.

Anthony Godfrey:
I just pulled this up. Let's pull up your Instagram account or let me find you on the ground as the kids say. All right, let's pull up your account here. Talk me through this. What's this picture right here?

Student:
So at our school, we do a culture assembly recently, what day was it? Just last week, March 2nd. We did like five different dances. There's a video here.

Anthony Godfrey:
Where were the dances from?

Student:
We do the dances from there was we did a Merengue that was just all girls. And then we did a Kombia that we had with couples. And then we did a Caborita that would also couples. And then we did Salsa as well with a couple too.

Student:
This is this year's peanut butter jelly sandwich that we made. These are just the ones that we did in class. So we usually just do groups and then we just make them and we do different ones. So we'll do all peanut butter. We'll just do all jelly and then we'll do a mix of both. And then this is a group of us that we went to downtown. A lot of us drove there. We take a truck together and it's really fun because we get to see a lot of like different people.

Anthony Godfrey:
I'm impressed with all the things that you have going on. You live up to the name, Latinos in Action.

Student:
Yeah, we do. We, we do whatever we can do to help out anybody around us. We can, we want to support our custodians. So we helped by cleaning the school for a couple of months.

Anthony Godfrey:
And Daniella, tell me about the service that Latinos in Action has been doing.

Student:
This year, what we've been doing recently has been a lot of the homeless activities, especially because of the whole COVID situations. Last week we did a whole homeless feeding. We made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. It was over 150 or so and we all went downtown. We walked around and we gave them out to the homeless. We gave them water bottles. It came with chips or granola bar, sweets snacks, plus the peanut butter and jelly. Other activities that we've done are homeless hygiene kits that have face lotion, tissues, shampoo masks, and just like things that will help them. If they can't get to sanitary places, that way they can keep clean. For the last month we did a Thanksgiving situation. We would give them kind of like a small meal that they could enjoy Thanksgiving by themselves. We've done car washing, just for the communities that they can get the car wash without having to pay them the money that they're supposed to. And most of them are just community guidelines. We've done some where we do snow shoveling. That only lasted a day because all the snow melted away. And then there was no snow. We have also done fleece blankets and stuff that would tie them together. And we'll donate them to either the homeless, to animal shelter, because animal shelters do need some for the animals to keep them warm too.

Anthony Godfrey:
It sounds like you haven't just done service from a distance, but that you have actually delivered the product that you've put together and delivered it right to the homeless. How does that feel?

Student:
It feels nice knowing that they have someone, so that they know that we care, that they're heard and it feels nice seeing the brightness on their face. They'll give us a little blessings. I can I give a blessing toward real? And it's just like saying that we are just so, so thankful for what we're doing for them.

Anthony Godfrey:
Sounds like this changes students' focus and they may be service-minded long after they're no longer part of Latinos in Action.

Student:
I'm actually friends with some of the other graduates that were in Latinos in Action. And they tell me how they're dong in college. They're doing other service-based activities, whether it's for a club or for an organization or for themselves with their own ideas. Oh, you can put that into LIA and make it bigger than what it is.

Anthony Godfrey:
Congratulations on the great work you're doing. It's awesome. What would you say to someone who's considering being part of Latinos in Action or starting Latinos in Action at their school?

Student:
I would say totally do it. It's something to get you to try a lot of things. This club is very good. You don't even have to be Latino. If we're being honest, it's just a club for everyone to get involved, to get to know people and really break out of your shell and help your community.

Anthony Godfrey:
What are the benefits for someone who decides to be part of Latinos in Action?

Student:
Latinos in Action really like opens you up. At least for me, last year I was super shy. I didn't talk to anyone. I had like one friend and now it seems like it's a second home to me. I really just loved being with Latinos in Action because it just helped me meet a lot of new people in different cultures and just opens up a different world for me.

Anthony Godfrey:
I think you've described it really well. What a lot of people are worried about coming into high school is who am I going to know? How am I going to make friends? Latinos in Action is an instant connection. It sounds like.

Student:
Yeah. It helped me a lot because I wasn't in it last year. But I had a friend that was a leader and I love to help a lot. She knew that I loved it, so I would help out. And they noticed that I was helping a lot. So when I applied, they saw me as as a person that actually is willing to do stuff in this class, which made me really happy because I just love helping people. And I didn't think I was even going to get this position because I wasn't even in the class last year and it's helped me open up a lot more and find more friends that are willing to invite me to places. A lot of times I was never really invited to anything other than this year, when I got into this class. I made a lot more friends that are willing to talk to me, invite me to things. So it's helped me a lot.

Anthony Godfrey:
Other thoughts?

Student:
I feel Latinos in Action is also a well-known organization and it's not just here in Utah, it's all over the country. Because we're based in Florida and California, it's very national. And so I feel that Latino in Action does bring the opportunity to many students. lFor our LIA Conference at the end of the year, they have different competitions in which tLIA students can go and compete and they can win scholarships and they can win money for submitting an art project or submitting a short film. And so they have so many different categories in so many ways that we can put ourselves out there and really be involved in the community.

Anthony Godfrey:
You guys are so impressive. This is awesome. Thanks for spending time with me. This is fantastic. What a great celebrity class. Thanks for joining us on the Supercast. Remember, education is the most important thing you'll do today. We'll see you out there.

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