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Monday, December 11, 2023


Spanish students educate local school on nutrition


Three students from the Spanish for the Health Professions class visited Yes Prep Academy for several weeks to teach eighth graders about nutrition, health and self-esteem. | Diana Nguyen/The Daily Cougar

Nutrition, exercise and self-esteem are uncommon topics discussed in an eighth-grade Spanish class.

YES Prep teacher Gabriel Barbieri’s eighth-grade Spanish III class was in for a treat when three UH students from the Spanish for the Health Professions course visited several times to discuss health habits, self-esteem and how to achieve goals.

Hispanic Studies professor María E. Pérez had students from her Spanish for the Health Professions class — Spanish and business senior Oswaldo Vinueza, Spanish senior Miriam Sanchez  and Spanish and French senior Patricia Savala — visit YES Prep Academy to converse with students on health issues that affect the Hispanic community from an adolescent perspective.

“When I was first introduced to the opportunity to teach a couple of self-esteem classes to YES Prep, I was a little nervous,” Sanchez said.

“Never before had I taught a class, but as soon as I stood up and started teaching, I saw myself perhaps doing this in the future.”

Sanchez said she knows that self-esteem can often be a sensitive subject, so she wanted to instill confidence in the students.

“Self-esteem is a touchy subject at any age, so I wanted to remind these eighth-graders at YES Prep that life is what they make out of it,” Sanchez said. “That with a little confidence in themselves, they can go a long way. Through their facial expressions during my class, I am pretty sure I got through to them.”

Sanchez’s thought proved right, as many of the students had positive reactions.

Daniela Pérez said she thought Sanchez’s lesson was helpful.

“This class is an extreme opportunity, because with my dreams, it fits perfectly by helping me be more outgoing,” Daniela Pérez said. “I want to be a psychiatrist, and with today’s lesson, I know what I got to do.”

Cassandra Gonzalez agreed.

“I enjoyed having this opportunity because it has given me some advice that I could use to pursue my goal of working in the medical field,” Gonzalez said.

María Pérez said her students have done an outstanding job interacting with the students at YES Prep.

“The UH students have been very successful in engaging the YES Prep students, and they have also targeted higher education, as they discussed health habits during the college years, including the infamous ‘freshman 15,'” Pérez said.

She hopes to achieve her goal of bridging the gap between school and the community with her Spanish for the Global Professions classes and the YES Prep collaboration.

“My aim in these courses has been to breach the gap between academia and the community,” Pérez said. “I hope to continue to do that by expanding our future involvement with YES Prep. We service our Hispanic community and, at the same time, provide an experiential learning opportunity for our students.”

 Barbieri said he feels YES Prep is a campus inclusive to all students.

“We are a campus that is committed to opening the doors of the college experience to all of our students, regardless of background, economic status, social privilege, sexual orientation or ethnic origin,” Barbieri said.

Sanchez said she was thankful for the opportunity to teach at YES Prep.

“I would like to thank professor María E. Pérez for her hard work and dedication to her students and allowing us to have such great experiences at the University of Houston,” Sanchez said.

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