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The SMHS French and Spanish Honor Societies will team up for “Cultural Friday” from 3:15 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on May 3, thanks to generous donations by The Fund for Santa Barbara.

The non-profit community foundation supports organizations working for social, economic, environmental & political change in Santa Barbara County through “Youth Making Change”.

The French Society received a grant for $700 to hold a Mardi Gras celebration to promote culture. All club members and advisor, French Teacher Meena Akhavan, sponsor this event. The Spanish Honor Society was awarded a grant for $2,310 to have an event called “Alivio al estrés” or Stress-Reliever. The event is a youth led project by club members and advisor, Spanish Teacher Mireya Luna-Covarrubias.

A third club, Las Comadres Club, also will join the event with a Mexican theme booth. It will feature sack potato races, a live music performance, a piñata, and flowers making and other crafts.

The Grant acceptance ceremony was held before The Minerva Club in Santa Maria. Both club officers gave a speech about the benefits and importance of their events.

“This opportunity allows our youth to make positive connections with the community and our school, build leadership skills, and celebrate cultural activities that will bring good change,’’ Akhavan added.

Students say they are ready to defeat stress that finals and the end of the school year can cause.

"Due to the increase in mental health issues, we are trying to offer students a better way to handle stress in their everyday lives. The rate of depression and anxiety among teenagers has increased 70 percent in the past 25 years. While, the number of young 
people and children that have mental health issues has doubled since 2009. We are trying to change those statistics of mental health issues." Angie Balderas, SHS member

“I’m very excited and looking forward to the event. Last year, I was just a member and I enjoyed the event so much it made me want to come back and join again but this time push for an officer position. The partnership with French Honor Society is also a big one for us. Never have we ever done this. This is truly an event that should not be missed.” John Barajas, SHS member

“The event that we’re bringing to life will help expose a different culture throughout the community. French is an amazing language/culture and we have a great group helping organize this event. We all want the same outcome and hope for an even more diverse community.’’ Gabby Martinez, senior.

“This event will be so much fun. This event will allow students to come together and get along participating in all activities. I think that in this event students will get to learn a little bit of the French culture and hopefully want to learn more.” Julissa Diaz Arredondo, senior.

NONDISCRIMINATION POLICY: The Santa Maria Joint Union High School District is committed to ensuring equal, fair, and meaningful access to employment and education services. The SMJUHSD does not discriminate in any employment practice, education program, or educational activity on the basis and/or association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics of age, ancestry, color, disability, ethnicity, ethnic group identifications, gender, gender identity, gender expression, genetic information, marital, family or parental status, medical condition, military or veteran status, nationality, national origin, immigration status, political affiliation, pregnancy and related conditions, race, religion, retaliation, sex (including sexual harassment), sexual orientation, or any other basis prohibited by California state and federal nondiscrimination laws respectively. Not all bases of discrimination will apply to both education services and employment. If you believe you have been subjected to discrimination, harassment, intimidation, or bullying, immediately contact the District’s Discrimination, Equity and Title IX Compliance Officer Mr. Kevin R. Platt at 2560 Skyway Drive, Santa Maria, CA 93455, (805) 922-4573 or You may request a copy of SMJUHSD’s Uniform Complaint Procedures, Non-Discrimination Policies, Sexual Harassment Policies or click here.