Hispanic Student Union hosts ACT prep class

Sophia Comas, Online Editor-in-Chief

It’s Friday night. 

The rest of Manhattan High’s West Campus is empty. The only noise the walls can expect to hear are later in the night when the basketball games start and the crowds go wild. 

But in the depths of E Hall, the walls hear a different kind of cheering, one that wasn’t supposed to be there at 5 p.m. on the most social night of the week.

“I did it, I got it right!” Jacklynn Hernadez, junior, yells as she high-fives her friend’s Cheeto-dusted fingers. 

Behind her, senior Alejandro Ortíz observes the other underclassmen who have all stayed behind in Spanish teacher Carmen Wilson’s room to learn from him and the other seniors who offered to help prepare them for the ACT.

Manhattan High’s Hispanic Student Union put the “class” together, organizing lessons the two Fridays before the actual test date to prepare any students who desired to strengthen their math, science and English skills.

“I believe it was important because I feel like a lot of kids who genuinely do take the ACT don’t really know what they’re getting into,” Jesus Juarez, junior, said. “I feel like people should at least know what they’re getting into and what they’re going to be tested on.”

Although the classes were hosted by the HSU, the group opened their doors to everyone looking for a little extra study time before today’s ACT. They hope it will be just enough to ensure that students not only received the help they needed but that they also built their confidence as test takers.

According to Hernadez, a first-time test taker, knowing that the class was composed of her classmates helped her to feel more comfortable approaching harder subjects like math.

“It’s way easier when my peers just sit down and talk to me about it and explain to me without adding the pressure of having to read a book,” Hernandez said. “It helped me with looking for the exact answer I needed without wasting too much time on each question.”

Students such as Ortíz helped to make the classroom comfortable yet productive, putting practice problems on the board and analyzing test statistics that make good scores. Both Juarez and Hernandez trust that because of their help, kids who attended the class will feel less nervous about the idea of trying.

“I think it’s just a matter of if you work hard enough and put in the effort then everything should just work out fine,” Juarez said.

Current test-takers will carry that sentiment with them, comforted by the fact that they learned how to not just become better testers but that they learned how to trust their instincts. 

“It helped me because… I got to ask questions like ‘How do I even solve this? Where do I begin?’” Hernandez said. “It just depends on if you’re ready for it.”