Staying Fuerte: Hispanic Heritage Society Creates Community within NAHS


Lydia Scott

Culture and Community: President Karen Palacios and Vice President Julia Cox of the Hispanic Heritage Society are passionate about how diversity can be encouraged at NAHS — and about the steps that they’re taking to do so.

Clocking in at over 2,000 students, it’s no surprise that North Atlanta has one of the most diverse student bodies in the district. A unique blend of different races, cultures, and identities, NAHS is a true melting pot among Atlanta Public Schools. However, with students spread between each of the school’s eleven floors, it can be difficult for students to create and foster close-knit communities. Thankfully, NAHS has a remedy: clubs. With over 36 clubs and numerous extracurricular activities, there’s practically a place for everyone and anyone at North Atlanta. One of the longest-standing clubs, the Hispanic Heritage Society (HHS), strives to live this inclusive truth every day.

Karen Palacios, a senior Dub who’s widely involved in JROTC, FBLA, and other academic commitments, prioritizes her role as the president of HHS. As the club’s leader, Palacios delegates tasks, finalizes events, and works with the advisors Ms. Luco and Ms. Cowell to organize the society and build community within NAHS. A member of the club since her freshman year at North Atlanta, it’s no secret that Palacios has a deep connection to the club’s mission. “When I first came to North Atlanta, I wanted to find a place that was culturally accepting and reminded me of how I grew up,” said Palacios. “The Hispanic Heritage Society truly gives me the freedom to express myself freely and connect with others that are similar to me.”

Vice President and senior Julia Cox share this sentiment. Cox joined the club at the beginning of her junior year and was instantly drawn to the welcoming community that she found. Cox helps put up flyers, leads announcements, and spreads valuable information — anything that brings awareness to the club and its widespread benefits. “There’s a large Latino community in North Atlanta, and it’s important that they feel welcomed when they walk through the front doors,” said Cox. “Everyone deserves a place where they can be open and themselves.”

Beyond creating a safe space for the Latino community, HHS strives to involve all backgrounds in its community-building efforts. Although HHS aims to be a comforting space for Latinos, the club’s leadership emphasizes diversity and inclusivity. “I think it’s significant to note that you don’t have to be Hispanic to be in the Hispanic Heritage Society,” said Palacios. “It’s a space for everyone to learn, grow and build meaningful connections.”
For anyone interested in trying delicious food, meeting new people, and learning about Hispanic culture, the doors to the Media Center are open every Thursday at 4:00 pm, so stop by and say hola! After all — the D in Dubs stands for diversity- in community and in thought.