Lawrenceville’s Latinos Unidos club hosts weekly meetings to provide Latinx students, as well as those who take Spanish, an opportunity to practice their language and express their own culture. Co-Presidents Camila Aguirre ’23 and Josue Ramos ’24 sought a friendly environment in which people could practice Spanish with very low stakes.
While promoting inclusion and awareness of Latinx culture on campus, Aguirre encourages increasing the representation of Latinx students. “I think affinity groups are always important to have on campus because [they allow] students with shared experiences to come together, but also enables students from different backgrounds to learn from the cultures of their peers,” she said. Aguirre recommends that all Spanish-taking students get involved with this club. “We try to take students’ Spanish outside of the classroom through Almuerzo en Español.” She strongly believes that the Latinos Unidos club supports the preservation of Hispanic culture outside of the School’s Spanish classrooms, and it also fosters the expansion of knowledge about Latinx culture at Lawrenceville. Spanish teachers Josefina Ayllon-Ayllon and Lizabel Monica consistently work alongside the Latinos Unidos Council to plan upcoming events and issue funds to execute objectives and goals.
Diego Nunez ’25 describes his time at Latinos Unidos meetings as “nice to have a group [he] can associate [himself] with and be a part of.” Unlike his experiences in Spanish class, Nunez appreciates the little to no stress of participating in the club and he finds it comforting that he can speak Spanish with fellow students and teachers in the same way he would address and speak to his own family when at home. He has and plans to continue participating in the Latinos Unidos club because he is grateful to represent his community and culture. He concluded, “I have realized that being away from my family has separated me from my roots, and these meetings have assisted me to rediscover and reconnect me to my culture and background.”
Sonia Lackey ’25, another attendee of the event, began attending these meals last year at the recommendation of her Spanish 3 teacher. While she finds that “the teachers speak very quickly” at times, she appreciates how the lunches have allowed her to “get much better at speaking and listening.” While she herself is not a member of the Latinx community, she enjoys conversing with her peers about “really anything, from classes to life,” which is quite different from the discussions she typically had in her Spanish classes. She looks forward to continuing to see people “show up to support their friends” at the meals.