Promoting cultures and showing students take pride in their heritage, Griselda Resendiz is a culture-loving chicána. She began teaching four years ago, initially with various math classes eventually Advancement Via Individual Determination. Since then, Resendiz has become the adviser for the Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlán and Cultuŕa Latína clubs, aiming to teach students about the Hispanic culture and why Latinós should be proud of their heritage.
“I grew up very exposed to my Mexican culture. I’ve always been very open and verbal about being a Latina and I try to teach my students to embrace themselves as they are,” Resendiz said.
Growing up, she had a moderate involvement with the Hispanic culture and wanted to find others just like her. She went to San Pasqual High School and was in the MEChA club, but it wasn’t as proactive as she hoped. It wasn’t until she attended the University of San Diego that she got the chance to spread she cultural awareness through their MEChA club. Since then, she has tried to have the same influence.
“[Resendiz] wants to open people’s minds and teach them passionately about [the Hispanic] culture. She wants us to get involved and realize that if we want change for anything, we need to be involved and it will start with our initiative,” MEChA Vice President Lesley Mondragon, 12, said.
Three years ago, Resendiz became the adviser for Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlán to help create a stronger sense of pride and knowledge about the Hispanic culture. Aiming to teach students about major events in the Hispanic culture and expose them to things they never knew about their heritage, she has helped the club thrive over time and educate people along the way.
“One of the importances at a school like ours, where there’s a strong Latino population, is to find a space on campus where you can identify and appreciate your culture. And others who don’t share the same culture as you should be able to learn more about it if it interests them,” Resendiz said.
Although she doesn’t teach English Learning Development classes for Mexican and Central-American immigrant students to learn English, Resendiz has put in the effort to help those students with their schoolwork. Spanish is the first language for many of her students, which makes it difficult to learn from a math textbook written in English. Resendiz remedies this issue by opening her classroom to struggling students during lunch, taking the role of a private tutor for them.
“I thought I knew a good amount about what goes on in the Latino culture, but then [Resendiz] invited me to join MEChA my sophomore year. Since then I’ve learned so much more because of her,” MEChA Treasurer Jose Perez 11, said.
In addition to MEChA and the private tutoring, Resendiz has introduced the afterschool program Cultuŕa Latína to help students learn more about Hispanic-based subjects. Beginning last year as an afterschool program, it discusses various topics to educate its members about Latinos’ history. After receiving several requests from former MEChA members to have a Hispanic-focused history club, Resendiz reached out to the National Latino Research Center and set up the afterschool program with college-approved curriculum about Latino history.
“[Resendiz’s] passion is what makes her someone to you can confide in and express radical ideas. Speaking from experience,” Cristian Juarez, 12, said.
With students coming from a variety of backgrounds and cultures, Resendiz believes it’s important to promote them. Changing people’s’ views on cultures by exposing them to new ones allows for a more diverse and open campus. Resendiz works to achieve that goal of creating a better environment for everyone through educating and informing others about the Hispanic culture