By Katy Granath Posted December 17, 2008
Four girls murmured frantically, discussing the arranged speakers, the food, and the night’s agenda. Not everything was perfectly in place, but they’d work out the kinks. Mr. Johnathan Gibson hovered nearby, calm, cool, and collected, allowing his students to take charge and solve the few minor problems without his help. Suddenly the group scattered- the Hispanic Organization’s Open House was about to begin.
Laura Ochoa-Mata, Elizabeth Aguilar, Lorena Arias, and Gloria Avila all contributed to putting together an open house for Lowry’s Hispanic students and parents. Advisors Gibson and Mercado stood by to see that all went well. The event was meant to help open a communication pathway between administrators and teachers at Lowry to Hispanic students and their families.
The open house commenced when Ochoa-Mata introduced each member of the administration staff present. Mrs. Debbie Watts, Mr. Byron Jeppsen, and Mr. Doc Welter from Lowry, and Mr. Kelly Novi from the Superintendent’s office each expressed his or her appreciation toward the students and their parents.
“I think this is a wonderful opportunity for us to meet and talk to each other,” Watts said, “so you can meet us and we can hear any concerns you might have.”
Novi specifically thanked the parents present for taking an interest in their children’s education. Jeppsen, speaking in Spanish, also offered his support to parents, saying, “My door is always open.”
Several speakers spoke in Spanish, so Mercado, Arias, and junior Brenda Ramirez took turns translating into English.
After the administrators spoke, a number of teachers were introduced. Mrs. McGibbon, a chemistry teacher, and Mrs. Ludlow, an English teacher, were both particularly concerned with students graduating on time and proceeded to update parents on the new requirements for graduation from Lowry.
In addition to the teachers and administrators, the Hispanic Organization had also recruited several Hispanic students from Lowry to speak about their experiences in high school. Both Juan Ochoa-Mata and Cintia Aguilar reported that their experiences as freshmen at Lowry had been wholly positive. Seniors Esmeralda and Elizabeth Aguilar discussed the changes senior year brings. Ramirez, a junior, described her experience at Lowry as well.
Following these personal testimonies, various speakers covered topics such as the attendance policy and parent involvement, and Lowry graduate Luis Ruiz informed the audience of his overall experience at Lowry as a whole.
The chief motivation for the open house was to urge parent involvement. Parents were taught how to use PowerSchool in the hopes that it would help them stay more connected with their child’s education. With so many topics covered, and especially with the PowerSchool tutorial, the night was an unquestionable success.
“Our Hispanic Organization students are wonderful kids who really want to do their best and want to involve their parents and the community,” Mercado said with pride.
She has a right to be proud of these ambitious students who are striving to include their parents, despite the difficult barriers language and culture can pose for them.