H.O.P.E. North Atlanta Concludes Successful First Year


North Atlanta H.O.P.E. officers Ramon Diaz. Agustin Jimenez, Maleni Palacios-Delgado and Shabeha Haque.

An end-of-the-year ceremony on April 28 for the North Atlanta H.O.P.E. chapter gave members time to reflect on the organization’s accomplishments.

The organization, Hispanic Organization to Promote Education, is in its first year at North Atlanta. The group was founded by seniors Maleni Palacios-Delgado, Shabeha Haque, Agustin Jimenez and Ramon Diaz.

Its objective has been the promotion of academics among North Atlanta’s Latino students and to raise the graduation rate among those in that same population subset. Palacios-Delgado said the impetus to start the club is rooted in the challenges that Latino students face at North Atlanta.

“For many Latino teens the process of coming into high school can be very overwhelming,” said Palacios-Delgado. “They are students who feel perhaps they are not heard. All along our goal has been to give them a voice.”

At the April 28 meeting, officers had reason for satisfaction. As the Class of 2016 graduates, North Atlanta is witnessing its largest-ever percentage of Latino graduates. With a school population that’s 20 percent Latino, North Atlanta has the highest Latino percentage of students among all Atlanta Public Schools high schools.

When the group first met in September, more than 120 students attended. Throughout the year the group met monthly. During meetings members would encourage each other, listen to invited speakers and also take part in test-taking workshops. The group took on community service projects and members attended a H.O.P.E. leadership conference in March in Gwinnett County where members met with Latino students from other high school chapters. “Interacting with other chapters it let everyone see we’re part of something much bigger than just North Atlanta,” said Palacios-Delgado.

H.O.P.E. has chapters in 26 schools within 11 school districts, the majority of which are located in greater Atlanta. North Atlanta officers say they are happy with the progress the group saw this school year. Even as they leave bound for colleges, they leave behind their hopes that their successors can build on the organization’s current momentum. “We definitely feel like we’ve established a foundation for the officers who will succeed us in the coming year,” said Haque.

North Atlanta H.O.P.E. offers are Maleni Palacios-Delgado, president; Shabeha Haque, vice president communication; and Agustin Jimenez, vice president development. The group’s staff sponsor has been Phillip Henry, ESOL liaison for Atlanta Public Schools.