What started informally many years ago after the ninth period bell in Huntington High School teacher Rosario Lorenzana’s classroom has evolved into one of the most active and meaningful clubs and programs in United Amigos.
Ms. Lorenzana has given freely of her time, developing an organization that began by bringing students together after school who needed tutoring and English language support. Word spread to other students and the teacher’s classroom became known as a place for science and language review as well as other support, including understanding American culture and navigating a large suburban high school.
Today the United Amigos community is looked upon as a second home for many Huntington teenagers.
The club’s officers include President Erik Flores Reyes, co-President Keylin Quintanilla, Vice-President Yanira Rivera, Treasurer - Emily Guevara, Recording Secretaries Kimberly Panameno and Keylis Flores-Velasquez and event coordinator Kristel Dominguez.
Seven years after it was created by Ms. Lorenzana, United Amigos is more valuable than ever to the high school community.
“We still continue to assist new ENL (English as new language) students to assimilate and thrive,” she said. “Last year we went into the community and delivered clothing, blankets and food to people in need. We are hoping to assist even more.”
United Amigos typically meets once a week for general academic and language support and to plan and execute various community service initiatives. For example, club members gather winter coats and food for local pantries several times a year. They participate in the Safe Halloween program for elementary school children at the high school and play a role in dances on Valentine’s Day and Cinco de Mayo. The also get involved in a variety of timely special initiatives.
“The club’s initial purpose was to help immigrant students coming to the distinct from Central and South American countries to adapt to a different atmosphere and feel as if they were in their mother homelands,” Ms. Lorenzano said. “United Amigos is not only a place for a lot of fun, but it also allows students to come together and become part of the Huntington family. It has created a secure place for students over the past few years.”
The organization’s members take pride in the group and they thoroughly enjoy coming together. Their willingness to help others and to volunteer for a good cause is remarkable.
“As vice president of the United Amigos club, I am so excited about all the activities we have planned for this year,” Ms. Rivera said. “We have so many new members, which is amazing. Considering a lot of the officers are seniors, we want the club to stay alive and keep thriving when we graduate. We, of course, will be helping out the community through as much as possible. This year we have an amazing group helping out and we can also see that the new members and returnees are excited to bring the joy of Hispanic culture to others. We hope everything goes as planned and as smoothly as possible. If anyone ever wants to join us they are always welcome.”