La Hora del Cafe: ‘a way of sharing their lives as Hispanic students’


Sean McGuinness

Students in the club La Hora Del Cafe recording their podcast.

After teachers Dorely Leal-Drago and Luisa Sanchez came up with an idea for a podcast for Hispanic students, students participating in the Spanish for Heritage Speakers class took on the podcast and created the club La Hora del Cafe. 

“We had the initial idea as teachers, but the kids really did build it from the ground up,” Sanchez said. 

La Hora del Cafe is a club that was introduced to Pascack Valley in Nov. 2021. La Hora del Cafe is currently a probationary club, since it takes two years to officially become a club at PV; however the students refer to it as a club. La Hora del Cafe uses podcasting as a way of sharing their lives as Hispanic students. 

When Leal-Drago and Sanchez brought the idea of the podcast to their students, the students made it into a project of their own. The students decided to make content through videos and podcasts, talking about situations, memories, and expressing how they feel.   

Sanchez said that students in the club utilize La Hora del Cafe to make new friends with other Hispanic students; they are able to relate to each other because of their shared Hispanic roots. As the podcast has continued to grow, members have come from a range of different nationalities: Ecuadorian, Mexican, El Salvadorian, Puerto Rican, and Cuban. 

“I think because we [allowed all Hispanics, not only those in Spanish class to join the club] it was easier for them to interact more [and] talk about different countries, because this year instead of it being one or two Hispanic countries we have five/six different Hispanic countries being represented,” Sanchez said.

Sanchez describes the club as a “safe [and] friendly space” to bond with others. Sanchez believes that coming together helps the students. 

PV Junior David Vivar, the president of the club, notes that he finds that members in the club “feel more calm knowing that they have other people who they can talk to.” 

As president, Vivar tries to be friends with everyone, make them all feel comfortable, and make sure that everyone can get their points across. Viviar said that he wants all the members to feel included, especially with the new incoming members this year.

“I do see that there’s a line between the newer people and the older people, but we definitely have been growing ever since [coming] together, and I feel like that’s how every club is,” Vivar said. 

Vivar further explained that the group finds connection through their shared purpose of spreading their cultures.

According to Sanchez, the club is working on highlighting diversity in the school through the use of talking about their culture on different social media platforms. They posted an episode of the podcast last school year that introduced the club and recently posted one about what it’s like to go back to the Hispanic countries they are from. 

Sanchez said that this year they plan on introducing the new members on the podcast since they aim for the audience to get to know them. La Hora del Cafe is also working on expanding to other platforms besides Spotify like Tiktok and Youtube. “They will discuss information like quinceañeras and everyday Hispanic ideas like rating authentic foods,” Sanchez says. 

Sanchez said that last school year the students had a premier party for La Hora del Cafe. Friends, parents, and administration joined, and they ate tacos and played games like Loteria, a traditional Mexican card game similar to Bingo. 

“Hopefully in the future we’ll be able to expand as well, not just for Hispanic kids but for other different cultures and heritages,” Sanchez said.