Mark Twain hosts information night for Hispanic parents |

Mark Twain hosts information night for Hispanic parents

Rick Gunn/Nevada Appeal Alexis Castillo, 2, listens to speakers during an information night for Hispanic parents at Mark Twain Elementary School on Wednesday evening. Nevada Hispanic Services is planning to host similar meetings every month.

Heriberto Mendoza, who goes by “Eddy” to his English-speaking friends, moved to Carson City from Mexico a little over two years ago.

His English has improved a lot since then, but the 10-year-old knows if he’s going to progress even more, he will need the support of his family.

“They need to know how I’m doing in school,” he said. “I want to learn because I want to speak English, and I want to participate in programs in the community.”

That’s why he encouraged his parents to attend the “Noche Informativa,” put on by Nevada Hispanic Services at Mark Twain Elementary School on Wednesday evening.

The information nights are designed to help Hispanic parents understand what is going on in their children’s schools and to raise awareness of resources in the community.

They will be held once a month at different schools.

“It’s just to let them know that they can be involved in the education of their kids,” said Raquel Knecht, director of Hispanic Services in Carson City. “This is their school. We want them to be comfortable.”

Heriberto’s mother, Sofia Osuna, came to the meeting to learn more about her youngest son’s education.

“I’m interested to know what’s going on with his studies,” she said. “They’ve said so many things I didn’t know before.”

Principal Kathy Adair welcomed the parents in Spanish then excused herself because she was late for a Spanish class.

More than 100 parents showed up to listen to speakers from community organizations, including the Ron Wood Family Resource Center, the Boys & Girls Club of Western Nevada and Citizens for Affordable Homes.

“This is not only building a house,” said Rosa Garza, a credit counseling specialist with Citizens for Affordable Homes. “This is becoming part of a community. You’re building pride and self-esteem. You’re becoming part of this country.”

Luîs and Maria Medinaand their four school-age children left Mexico a year ago. They have been taking classes in English and encourage their children to take advantage of the education they’re being offered.

“We want to be involved in their school,” Luîs Medina said. “We need to support each other and be united.”

Leticia Senda of Nevada Hispanic Services said she is often angered to hear that Hispanic parents are apathetic when it comes to their children’s education.

She told parents the message she wanted them to learn is “Sî, se puede (Yes, you can).”

Contact Teri Vance at