A New Beginning

Shezal Padani, Staff Writer

After being under the radar for several years, the Ritmo Latino club is back. With the determination of senior president Sebastian Meji to bring back the club’s existence, it is finally here and ready to support as well as provide opportunity for its members. However, getting to this point was not easy.
“Last year I tried to make a club with a very similar goal as Ritmo Latino,” Meji said. “I had not been aware of Ritmo Latino when I began trying to form the club and my effort to start a club was initially rejected.”
Despite this rejection Meji did not give up and continued to pursue his goals. Finally, his ideas were shown to sponsor Mr. Ramirez, who asked him to become junior president for the club. Meji is now determined and excited to finally make a difference.
“I want the members of Ritmo to become leaders and role models at Plano,” Meji said. “By making an effort towards that goal of going to college, I am confident that the members will become exactly that.”
Although Meji is determined, the club has had a rough start.
“We were doing our meetings during lunch and it was not very successful,” senior vice president Noheli Arce said. “But now the meetings are after school and we have had better results.”
Ritmo Latino is now well established and is focusing on its main goal, getting students ready for college. However, according to Meji, there are several aspects that make this club unique.
“I feel that Ritmo Latino has been the only effort to try and create a Hispanic community at Plano with a single goal, in this case going to college,” Meji said. “We also bring in current students from universities that can provide a unique perspective to the college experience. Counselors, teachers and the internet are great, but it doesn’t beat learning about college from someone who is being directly impacted by it. Further, this year has been the first year that we have encouraged not only Latino, but anyone who is interested to join. I not only want this help and information to be accessible to everyone, but I also think opening up the club will allow more views of the high school experience to be exposed to all the members.”
In addition to providing advice and suggestions for those who desire to apply to college, Ritmo Latino offers other utilities as well in order to achieve this academic goal.
“We want to provide the club members with the tools that they need to be prepared for college,” Arce said. “These tools include offering community service opportunities, tutoring programs and informing them about scholarships.”
Providing opportunity for his members is important to Meji.
“We offer an opportunity to have all the tools you need for high school and college, an opportunity to interact with the Hispanic community, an opportunity to be the best one can be and an opportunity to create a network of friends that will support each other,” Meji said.
The goals the club has have already been placed into action. Their first meeting started off with a collective discussion as to what they wanted to do this semester. After Meji provided some basic tips for those seeking to attend a university, the club had a group debate on the values of an education in today’s ever changing world.
Being a Latina, Arce said she is proud to be a part of the club. She said she believes that her efforts, as well as Meji’s efforts, will make an impactful difference.
“I feel like I am giving back to the Latino community,” Arce said. “There are many Latinos who have dreams of pursuing a career but don’t have the tools to do it. Ritmo Latino wants to provide those tools to see students graduate and seek higher education. We want to inform as many Latinos and other races that pursuing a higher education is possible.”
Meji also said he is proud to be a part of the club, and has high hopes for the club’s future.
“I enjoy being a part of something I believe can make a big difference at PSHS,” Meji said. “Whether in the community as a whole or simply for the students at Plano, I want Ritmo to leave a mark. Ritmo has not been well known these last years. This year we will leave a legacy of students helping students do well in school and beyond.”