The buzz around the Riverbank High School campus on Friday, March 24 was that there was going to be a Banda performing live in the Bruin Gym for a Cesar Chavez Celebration hosted by the Hispanic Youth Leadership Council (HYLC). The club members worked really hard to bring the students something a little bit different than just a dance. The festivities included live music by Banda La Nueva Tequilera, Mexican food, aqua frescas, and a DJ.
HYLC President Jaisen Albor along with Vice President Maria A. Quintero started thinking about ways to raise money for the club and to celebrate the Hispanic culture. With some of Quintero’s connections the band agreed to play for the students at RHS. They played for a couple hours and DJ Jose Gomez “Pepe” stepped in to keep the energy going throughout the evening.
“The band was awesome,” stated HYLC Advisor Maritza Alvarez. “All of the students were on the dance floor as soon as the band started playing. The live band definitely attracted students to attend the dance.”
In honor of Cesar Chavez Day on Friday, March 31 the timing was just right for the club to host a celebration. With the motivation from Chavez’s motto of “Si Se Puede” (“Yes You Can”) the HYLC got together and had a successful event Friday night with over 120 students in attendance.
“The celebration was outstanding,” stated Albor. “I was surprised at the amount of people that attended. The band did amazing. Everyone was dancing and having a great time.”
Alvarez became the advisor last school year and since the club formed again it has gained ground. They are looking for more members since currently most of the members are seniors. The club is open to anyone who would like to be informed on the Latino/Hispanic culture, history, background, leadership, career development, and community service. There are about 10 to 12 official members and they meet about twice a month, usually at lunch. Interested parties can attend a meeting for more information or to join to keep the club thriving.
The pledge of the HYLC as recited by the President of the club, Jaisen Albor stated, ‘I promise to uphold the ideals of the Hispanic Youth Leadership Council in my relations with my family, school and community. I will make every effort to maintain pride in my heritage, to succeed in all my endeavors, and to honor the commitments I make.’ This is also spoken at the beginning of every meeting.
As listed on the yosemitescouting.org website, HYLC is a club with many chapters throughout Merced, Stanislaus, and San Joaquin counties. All HYLC clubs are sponsored by the Greater Yosemite Council and Hispanic Leadership Council (HLC) of Stanislaus County, which is made up of educators and business professionals. HYLC is designed to develop leadership among its members and in the community. HYLC is open to all students regardless of ethnicity. HYLC is also registered with the Boy Scouts of America as a Venturing program.
The club started community service this semester by volunteering at the Riverbank Nursing Center at least once a month. They play bingo and serve the residents lunch as well as keep them company. They also volunteer at the Community Hospice Hope Chest Thrift Store on McHenry Avenue in Modesto.
“We need people to join the club,” said Albor. “We have worked really hard for this just to go back to nothing.”
The slogan of the HYLC is Nunca te rindas which means Never give up.
Albor explained that the unity of the club members, community service, expanding the knowledge of the Hispanic culture, leadership skills and to have personal growth are all very good reasons to join the HYLC.
“There are quite a few standards for us,” added Albor. “We have to prove ourselves and show that we are dedicated. I think we have done a pretty good job in displaying what the motto says.”
The club will be offering Cinco de Mayo grams for the upcoming holiday that will be delivered throughout the school day.
“It was honestly better than expected,” exclaimed Alvarez of the Friday night event. “I am very proud of my students.”