A “Pachanga” To Remember


Yesenia Ruiz, Staff Writer

On the evening of November 18th, the Almond cafeteria filled with palpable excitement. Warren’s very own Latino leadership organization, Avanza, was hosting their first big event of the year, the Pachanga. In English, the direct translation of a pachanga would be a party, but this event goes far beyond the typical function. The Pachanga is a leadership conference for all the Latino-based culture clubs in the surrounding area to come together and network before they all head to the Chicano College Bowl in the spring. The Chicano College Bowl is an annual competition hosted by Highland Park High School, quizzing students on Latino history and culture. It is one of the most anticipated events of the year, and to support that excitement, Highland Park High School has worked to create a bi-annual Pachanga event. The Pachanaga allows students to not only share their common experiences, but also celebrate their diverse cultures. The event teaches about the importance of networking that will be used for a lifetime, and creates a wonderful sense of community that students from different schools often lack.

Avanza has had the honor of hosting the Pachanga several times throughout the club’s history, but this was their first time doing so in several years due to pandemic restrictions. Avanza was thrilled to jump back in and welcome over 10 different schools and 150 students. Avanza officers and advisors planned several icebreaker activities to force students out of their comfort zones while still allowing them to have a fun time. Participants broke off into groups composed of a mixture of students from each school, and although most students were initially strangers to each other, all groups quickly fell into conversation and laughter. They bonded over games like telephone (with a twist) and even a competitive relay race! Teams were competing to be the first to be able to get food, and with such a tasty menu, this incentive was huge. Dinner was composed of dishes brought in by Avanza members, majority of which were traditional Latin dishes. Students enjoyed being able to share foods from their own cultures and learn about others, but the night was not over quite yet…

The final part of the night brought the students together the most.


The lunchroom was filled with booming bass as familiar Latin hits blasted through the speakers. Teachers, students, and volunteers were all unified as they performed intricate footwork and sang along to their favorite songs. Everyone was on their feet and having a good time together. Students showed off in the middle of dance circles, formed a conga line, and performed traditional line dances. They were sad to hear the final songs played, but were in the end satisfied with such a successful and fun night.

Pachanga 2022 undeniably united the 150 students and formed many long-lasting memories. Avanza was pleased with the outcome and grateful to the several schools that joined them to celebrate and learn. They cannot wait to compete in the Chicano College Bowl in the spring and hope to finish second semester on a high note!