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Mean Girls: Old and new
Mean Girls: Old and new
February 14, 2024

Celebrating Hispanic heritage: “Never say no to yourself”

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Zaria
Jose Ramírez (10) escorting Astrid Rodas (10), and Larissa Mendoza (10) escorted by Cesar García (10), showcase the cultural aspects of a quinceañera.

Throughout the month of October, Marietta HoPe organizes activities to recognize Hispanic-Brazilian Heritage Month. HoPe, which stands for ‘Hispanic Organization Promoting Education,’ is a non-profit group that works to build communities for Hispanic students to lead, serve, and thrive.  It is currently established in 72 high schools, including Marietta High. Marietta HoPe serves the 37.5 percent of Hispanic students that make up the school’s population.

“I feel that HoPe gives people a community and support system to those who have questions about school or just need advice. We do our best to have community service events at the high school 

and spread our culture,” Angeles Mendez, HoPe President (12), said.

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, the group hosted events to celebrate the legacy that Hispanic people have left on the world, as well as to encourage aspiring Hispanic leaders. During the end of September, HoPe held a fundraiser where they sold aguas frescas.

The first event of the month featured a piñata atop the Grand Staircase, where students took turns hitting it to break out the candy inside. Piñata are a traditional aspect of Mexican culture and are seen at many celebrations such as birthdays.

Next, was the Hispanic Heritage Month assembly, which showcased the talents and culture of many Hispanic students. It also honored the lost relatives of some Marietta students. After a collection of dances and songs, and a display of cultural clothing, there was a performance from the band, ‘Grupo Origen ST’ and a presentation from the keynote speaker, Maria Alejandra-Bastidas. Bastidas is an award-winning journalist, TEDx speaker, and the founder of ‘Latina Leads.’ Bastidas delivered an inspirational speech to students, encouraging them to “never say no to yourself.”

The third event was a luncheon provided for the staff. They were invited to celebrate Hispanic culture through festive decorations and authentic food.

The final event was a student-led ‘HoPe Night,’ which allowed students and parents to review academic requirements and discuss post-graduation plans.

Blue Devil News presented Hispanic heritage daily educational facts and trivia on Good Morning Marietta. HoPe will also continue to meet once monthly, and is always accepting new members.

Valeria Rodriguez

Sydney Martinez

A Senior at Marietta High School, Valeria Rodríguez has participated in numerous leadership roles throughout high school, her most significant leadership being MHS Student Body Co-President and HoPe Vice President of Service. As a first generation student, Rodríguez has striven to make a name for herself.

How has being a first-generation student impacted you?

Being a first-generation American has driven me to do my best in everything. I try to be involved and do things that would be “scary” to others, and do them myself as thanks to my parents for everything they sacrificed to give me a better life. Thankfully, this mindset has gotten me far and given me many leadership opportunities.

What inspired you to pursue many leadership roles?

Being the middle child, I have seen my sisters go through high school. While they got good grades, I wanted to do something that would set me apart. I’ve always been an extroverted person, and leadershi

p comes to me naturally. I wanted to be an example to the people around me and show that they can do what they put their minds to.

How has your family’s background and values shaped your approach to leadership?

Coming from Mexico, my parents didn’t know much about the American lifestyle. Growing up, I had to figure things out on my own because it seemed like no one shared information with minorities. This upset me because I missed out on things my friends seemed to be experts on. My parents have always told me to stay humble no matter the situation and that being kind gets you far. I’ve put that in my leadership and do my best to make sure everyone feels included no matter how big or small an event may be.

What advice would you give to other first-generation students aspiring to take on leadership roles?

Take the risk. You never know what your full potential is until you do things outside your comfort zone.

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About the Contributors
Zaria Byers, Print Editor-in-Chief
Zaria Byers is a senior in the IB Career Pathway at Marietta High School. She currently serves as the print editor-in-chief of  Pitchfork, Marietta High School’s newspaper. Her work as a student journalist has earned three GSPA all-state awards. She is also a dedicated member of the Environmental Club. Outside of school,  Zaria is involved in Mount Paran Church youth and outreach. She spends her leisure time photographing, reading, traveling, and attending events in her local community. She also enjoys exploring all sky phenomena. She has aspirations of becoming a copywriting manager post-college.
Sydney Martinez, Managing Editor
Sydney Martinez is an IB student, currently on the last stretch of her high school career. Although not new to Pitchfork, this will be Sydney’s first year as an official member and second year as editor-in-chief of the, recently rediscovered, Literary Magazine Persephone. Outside of Pitchfork, Sydney is involved in three National Honor society, those being in Art, Spanish, and the National Honor Society. Apart from being involved with her school, she is running her own photography business LenseCrafted to support her hobby of photography. Sydney has aspirations of becoming a journalist in the upcoming years.
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