Que Bueno! Altamont Students "Go Live" on Spanish Radio, Social Media, and More

Vinay Yerramsetti

Vinay Yerramsetti

Tuesday, May 2, 2023
Que Bueno! Altamont Students "Go Live" on Spanish Radio, Social Media, and More

Photo by Nadia Barajas

Can a school field trip be both terrifying and educational? Earlier this spring, Altamont's Spanish 6 class went to the La Jefa radio station and Mi Pueblo Supermarket, both in Pelham, Alabama.

When we arrived at La Jefa, Cinthia Saenz, the chief coordinator of the station, divided us into three groups. My group was assigned to make a social media video about a Hispanic artist. Victoria Rizo, La Jefa's social media manager, showed us how to make a short film similar to the ones you might see on their TikTok or Instagram. We had to stand in front of a green screen and enthusiastically read a pre-written script in Spanish about the artist. Afterwards, she edited the video and showed us the final product. I'm proud to say it looked almost exactly like the videos you see on their social media pages (except our pronunciation wasn't quite as good).

In retrospect, the social media job seems like an easy warm-up: After that, we were assigned to speak Spanish on live radio with hundreds (or more) people listening in. All of us were nervous before going on air, but broadcasters Francisco Quintanilla and Andres Zambrano calmed us down and prepared us well for being interviewed.

It was time to go live! We were asked our names, ages, favorite Hispanic foods, and our favorite artists. We were even quizzed on some random objects lying around. Talk about trial by fire with an audience.

After that, we wrote and read a script about a new radio station program and what we would talk about on the show. Then we read the script in our new "radio voices" that we learned at La Jefa. After all three of the groups completed their tasks, then everyone took a picture together in front of the La Jefa van (see above) and said our goodbyes. 

Next, the bus headed right across the street to the Mi Pueblo Supermarket. We were greeted by the sights and smells of various Spanish-speaking countries from Mexico down through Central and South America. We browsed around the store before the friendly manager came over to our group and offered a tour. She kindly showed us each section of the store and explained them in Spanish. There was a produce section that had fresh fruits and vegetables unique to certain Hispanic countries. There was a bakery pumping out fresh bread, cakes, and other delicious pastries. There was a seafood section with fish, shrimp, and other types, and a meat section.

In the back of the supermarket was a restaurant that served authentic Hispanic dishes. We could choose whether we wanted to eat from the buffet order a quesadilla, which was the Tuesday special. The food was incredible and much more authentic than at the restaurants where we typically dined in Birmingham. After lunch, we browsed the store one last time for snacks and candies before getting back on the bus to head back to school, a sweet end to a challenging, enlightening trip.

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