Spanish Honor Society Induction Ceremony
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Stuyvesant offers a wide variety of language courses to its students, providing opportunities to not only learn the language but also become part of a larger community. With the introduction of language honor societies, such as the Japanese Honor Society and the German Honor Society, Stuyvesant now offers more community-oriented spaces to encourage students to continue pursuing their linguistic endeavors. Recently, the Spanish Honor Society, also known as La Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica, held an induction ceremony on May 17 for students who demonstrated excellence in AP Spanish classes; inductees were selected by their AP Spanish teachers to apply for the society. The ceremony took place in the auditorium, and about 20 students were inducted.
One of the main appeals of the society is the opportunity to meet like-minded individuals also interested in advancing their Spanish knowledge. “When I heard that there was a whole society of people who also really enjoyed that and were probably like me and spoke some Spanish outside of class—at least with their friends for fun—that was just really cool to me, so I did want to join because of that,” junior Eshaal Ubaid said.
Prior to the ceremony, inductees held occasional meetings to prepare for the event. “Right before the ceremony, they decided on different positions [for the honors society], such as who president, vice president, and secretaries were going to be,” Ubaid said. “But for the ceremony itself, we definitely rehearsed reading some of the passages that they had for the ceremony, along with the oath that you’re supposed to take, just so that we could say it all together [as] a group in unison. We were definitely taught the procedures; there was one part where we had to light these candles upon hearing our names and other things like that, those were the rituals that were said to be really important to the induction, so we definitely ran through those.”
One of the ceremony’s main attractions was a flamenco dancer, who served to culturally immerse students and build on the celebratory atmosphere. Flamenco, a distinct and highly emotive style of dance that combines hand clapping and percussive footwork, is an easily recognizable component of Spanish culture. “Flamenco is the national dance of Spain, and when we think of flamenco it’s very much alive, a lot of dancing—but we always think of a Spaniard,” Spanish teacher and lead ceremony organizer Rosanny Genao said. “But this year’s dancer happens to be an African American [woman] from Brooklyn who happened to fall in love with the culture, moved to Spain, learned the language, and transferred her ballet skills into flamenco.”
The other major attraction was Dominican-American novelist Angie Cruz, who was selected to be a speaker at the ceremony. “[Cruz] has been putting out quite a few works lately, and she’s becoming super prominent, so I reached out. I was like, ‘Okay, let’s see if we can have her here,’ since I thought this community could relate [because] quite a few of the students at Stuyvesant are first-generation immigrants,” Genao said.
The induction ceremony also included a wide variety of cultural foods and music. “There was catering, too. They had been sponsored by a couple of Spanish bakeries [...] and there was this amazing food spread. There was also a Latin jazz band and some singers from chorus, so it was really cool,” Ubaid said.
This emphasis on cultural inclusivity helped display how this society can help people of different backgrounds and life experiences find connections. “At the end of the day, it’s all about the human experience and inclusivity. Just looking at the world through different lenses and languages open[s] up a window of so many opportunities to allow us to really connect with each other on a deeper level,” Genao said.
For several students, the ceremony served as a promise to continue linguistic and cultural exploration throughout their lives. “I think it signifies my commitment to continue enjoying learning Spanish and being engaged with learning about the Spanish culture,” junior Katelyn Hai said. “It signifies also that there isn’t really an end to my journey, as someone learning Spanish.”
Similarly, students like Ubaid look forward to how the society will enrich their language learning experiences. “But a big part of it is just vowing to immerse yourself more in the Spanish language; that’s part of the induction oath that you take,” Ubaid said. “I guess we’ll see more next year because honestly I’m not entirely sure [about] the extent [of] the activities they have in store for us, but I’m kind of excited.”
Moving forward, the Spanish Honors Society is working on becoming an active volunteer organization that gives back to the community. “Because this is the first year doing it, we haven’t really gotten a chance to. But I remember [my teacher] saying that typically this kind of society would be involved in organizing events, like the way Key Club and ARISTA do, and also just upholding some kind of community service,” Ubaid said.
Overall, the Spanish Honor Society induction ceremony helped foster a welcoming environment for students to continue their explorations of Spanish culture and linguistics. “Along the way, it was just really fun just being in meetings cracking jokes in Spanish or hearing others cracking jokes. It’s a nice community, and I’m really glad that it’s been introduced this year,” Ubaid said.