MeChA Promotes Culture and Leadership in Centennial

MeChA adviser Edgar Brambilia-Perez assists a student with school work.

Goold Photo

MeChA adviser Edgar Brambilia-Perez assists a student with school work.

Sheila Trnjanin, Staff Writer

MeChA is a nationwide organization that promotes leadership, political involvement, and empowerment among youth. It has been known to have a greater amount of Hispanic members.

Second year social studies teacher Edgar Brambila-Perez is now the new adviser of MeChA, and took on that job because he wanted to become more involved with activities.

The organization has been in our school since the early 2000’s, and this year is the year of redeveloping its values and how events are going to be implemented.

Although high schools and colleges all over the country have a MeChA program that is apart of the national group, each one has their own set of unique values and cultures compared to others in the nation that adapt to their region. “Being Hispanic isn’t one single culture, there’s diversity within the Latino community. Each MeChA club functions independently and is able to address that diversity,” Perez said.

At Centennial, students are able to come together in an open environment to connect and aim to achieve goals to promote leadership, civic involvement, and academic success; most members are born into Mexican immigrant families, “We have similar struggles, similar values, similar principles, so it’s easier for us to relate to each other and to connect,” said Perez.

Alondra Barrera, Junior, became more involved in MeChA this year and said, “Personally, I think that MeChA has benefitted me by building my motives of self determination through the small projects that we do, like going to the middle school to talk to not only Latinos, but all kinds of races, and we mainly give a message saying you can do anything as long as you put the effort to where you want to be. One of the things I like about MeChA is that we help the community by helping out with events hosted by the elementary schools in the Centennial School District, and the club also focuses on our education. Once in awhile we have a meeting with our adviser and have a quick chat individually to catch up with anything we need help on, especially seniors to help them get into college by scholarships, grants, and resume building.”

With a new adviser, new president, new secretary, and new members, a chance to reimagine major events such as Multi-Cultural Night is now a goal for MeChA to achieve. In addition, the group will have more freedom to develop a redesigned set of core values to promote those ideas.

Fundraisers run by MeChA have always been popular and many people look forward to them. They have received lots of positive feedback from students, thus encouraging them to become involved themselves. All of the money raised from selling traditional Mexican food goes towards sending members to leadership conferences. One big event that is coming up is the Cesar E. Chavez Leadership Conference on March 3, 2017 at Western Oregon University. Here, students come together to share ideas about leadership and witness different perspectives.

Just because MeChA was created for Latino students, doesn’t mean that others can’t join as well. “A lot of the values that we encourage and want to develop through our community service, through the events that we host, and through the conferences that we attend are values that are universally positive, no matter what your culture is. I think that MeChA is a good environment where we have those principles and positive values, but they are set in a unique culture that a lot of students are a part of, and they are values and principles that anyone can work to develop,” said Perez.