Meeting and greeting as amigos


Monique Munoz

On October 25, Alicia Lopez, 9, dances at the DHS Amigos Club BBQ in the gym to meet and greet new members. Gathered around each other, club members danced, and played games with balloons to bond with new friends.

Joey Flores, News Editor

As an entertaining social gathering for those involved in Amigos Club, a meet and greet barbeque was hosted by advisers on October 25 in the gym.

The atmosphere in the gym during the event was in very high spirits. People were dancing, playing games, happily conversing, and having a genuinely good time. This is because the club, which had an overload of members sign up this year, has students willing to come and join the festivities with their Amigos Club friends. One student, Michelle Kam, 10, wanted to come for a specific reason.

“I came not only because I wanted to help out, but because I really wanted to talk to special education students more,” Kam said.

Kam took a short break from conversing with other students to say that interaction with students was fun because they had very fun personalities. The club has allowed students who appear different the opportunity to learn others sense of humors, personas and perspectives on life. Kam also enjoys working with the special education students because of how fun they are. Students engaged in games of Duck-Duck-Goose, danced along to the festive music, and they tossed around balloons that added to the party atmosphere.

“We wanted to do this [barbeque] so that the special education students know that they’re just like us,” Hailee Vazquez, 10, said. “We don’t them to be afraid of us because we don’t have the same classes as them or because we don’t have to do the same things that they do.”

Vazquez, who is nearly set to be one of five CEOs of Amigos Club, was active in making the gathering happen. She made the announcements at the club’s meetings, which proved very effective. She also suggested that there could be special dances at the gathering which people would take part in. These dances included a conga line, a Hispanic line dance to the Spanish-speaking song called “No Rompas Mas,” and a dance to the more popularized song the “Cha Cha Slide.” At the end of each of these dances, the room was flooded with the sounds of happy chatter and laughter. Hearing the joyous sounds ensured the concept of unity amongst all of the students.

“I joined Amigos [Club] because my cousin might be placed in Special Ed. I mainly wanted to learn how to interact with these students with disabilities, but being in this club showed me that not all people avoid these students just because of their disability,” Joncarlo Montenegro, 10, said. “That is very reassuring for me.”

Socializing between special education students and general education students was a small worry for Montenegro because of the consistent spread of recent stories about bullies. Watching the partygoers chat was comforting for Montenegro because it showed him that not all students are mean enough to make fun of someone because of their differences. Those involved have a real desire to be involved, which helped Montenegro shake away his concern.  Social events like this one are a display of the students’ altruistic reasons to be in the club. The students in the club also participate in various activities with special education students, including a pool party at the end of the year.

Amigos Club is growing larger and more students are realizing the urge to socialize with a variety of students. The club is an example of not only friendship and unity amongst students at Downey, but also the importance of emphasizing equality between pupils.