Photo of Atlantic City High School's Norma Morales by Daniel Winner.


ATLANTIC CITY — For nearly 25 years, Norma Morales has been helping shape the future of the Hispanic community in Atlantic City as the longtime advisor to Latinos Unidos, a student group at Atlantic City High School that caters to Hispanic students there.

Last month, Morales brought a group of her Latinos Unidos students to the Hispanic Association of Atlantic County’s Three Kings Day celebration at Our Lady of the Sea Catholic Church. There, they volunteered to help as more than 600 families enjoyed the program and gifts, annually one of HAAC’s biggest events of the year.


“We needed a volunteer event and I wanted them to see how other groups are serving the community,” Morales said. “This is one of the main events that they can help and also reach out to the community themselves.”

Morales herself is a valuable leadership asset for the students. A Spanish teacher at Atlantic City High School for more than 20 years, she instructs at a school that is nearly 40% Hispanic, easily the largest ethnic class at the institution.

The students reveled in the festivities as they engaged the many neighborhood children and families getting gifts and bonding with friends from around Atlantic City.

“This is my first time here,” said senior Luis Ramirez. “I love it because I love the environment and it’s positively showing my Hispanic community. Everyone is welcoming and having a good time. It’s nice to be here.”

Atlantic City senior Luis Ramirez. Photo by Daniel Winner.

As vice president, Ramirez said he showed up at the Three Kings Day event because he was in a leadership position and wanted to take on the responsibility of being a good role model.

“I felt as vice president, I needed to be an example for the club and for me to serve my community so we can pass it on to the next generation,” Ramirez said.

That’s just the kind of atmosphere and attitude Morales said she hopes to foster with the club. Her determination to keep Latinos Unidos going has had a big impact on students.

“My first three years, I really didn’t do anything,” Ramirez said. “In my last year, I wanted to get more involved in the school and the community.”

Morales has been the club’s advisor for most of its existence.

Members of Atlantic City High School’s Latinos Unidos attending January’s Three Kings Celebration. Photo by Daniel Winner.

“I’ve been at Atlantic City High School for about 25 years,” said Morales, who is also active in HAAC. “Mr. Rodriguez, who has retired, started the club. When he retired, we needed someone to take charge. I applied and here I am.”

Morales said she has enjoyed seeing students grow into their potential with the aid of the group and now her old students are now having children attending the school.

“I’m going to continue with this,” Morales said. “One of the main reasons I want to stay is because the club teaches students how to be good leaders in our community and we need them to step up and make a difference.”

Morales has been able to let Hispanic students find their own path to leadership now for more than two decades.

Hispanic Leadership and Community

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