Minnetonka High School Club Spotlight: Hispanic Student Union

Alexandra Zedania, Staff Writer

Minnetonka High School’s clubs are the foundation of our community. With over 100 groups, there is a place for every student to explore their interests and find a sense of belonging. Clubs have long aided Minnetonka students in serving their community, making lasting relationships, and even exploring career paths before they reach adulthood. More and more spring up every year, opening the gates for more opportunities for MHS students. Some common themes and categories include that of service or fellowship. 

Fellowship, in particular, is perhaps one of the most crucial. Clubs such as Muslim Student Association and Human Rights and Relations Club offer the space and opportunity for students of different backgrounds to have their voices heard and improve school culture with better representation and understanding.

Recently, a new club has started up at MHS: the Hispanic Student Union (HSU). The club is a fellowship and support club, and its first meeting was on January 28, 2022. The club focuses on the representation of Hispanic cultures within Minnetonka. HSU has also presented in Spanish classrooms at Minnetonka about Mexican heritage and culture. So far, the group is seeing success and is gaining more traction in the school as students hear about it. 

Anouk Carter-Dorf, ‘24, is a member of the HSU. She expressed her appreciation for being in a community that celebrates Hispanic culture.

“I think that finding people with the same ethnicity or culture is really meaningful, especially in a predominantly white school. Just having that space to express myself and my culture in that way mattered to me a lot,” said Carter-Dorf.

A typical meeting might include playing Hispanic-cultural games and bringing in traditional foods. The group has been trying to incorporate and represent all Hispanic cultures from many countries. Carter-Dorf said that on March 24, the club plans to have a viewing party of the US vs. Mexico soccer game as well. 

“It’s going to be awesome,” she said. 

Club leader Pablo Gonzalez, ‘23, emphasized the importance of making a comfortable environment for all students of Hispanic descent. Gonzalez explained that the sharing of experiences of Hispanic youth is valuable and important, especially in Minnesota, and he also spoke to the value of connecting with other Hispanic students through shared language and cultures. 

About his decision to start HSU, Gonzalez said, “I’ve always been the type of person who follows others, but I decided to change that. I have chosen to embrace my culture and use that as motivation to show others that being Hispanic is something to be proud of. Looking at previous demographics from 2020, the Hispanic Community makes up 4% of the high school population, with a further 1% being Latino. Although we are fewer in numbers, our voices are stronger.”

HSU encourages and welcomes all students to join to learn more about the cultures and the experiences of growing up of Hispanic origin, regardless of their identity. Gonzalez hopes that the club can grow to its fullest potential and reach out as much as it can to all students alike and make Hispanic students feel connected.

“Tonka, embrace the moment, challenge yourself, and use your own experiences to educate those around you,” Gonzalez said.

Check out the Hispanic Student Union’s Instagram @mtkahsu for information about joining or with questions. Meetings are every other Friday from 7:15-8:00 am.