Students Celebrate Hispanic Identity and Culture Through September

This September, students and faculty celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month on campus and virtually, recognizing Hispanic music, food, art, and identity during an uncertain and chaotic time.

The month is dedicated to highlighting Hispanic culture and influential Latinx figures. Students joined the nationwide celebration of Hispanic identity, and both the Spanish Honor Society and the Spanish faculty stressed the importance of educating students over the month. 

“I feel like it’s important for anyone to learn about Spanish culture and history,” strings sophomore Sofia Plaza said, “For those that may not be a part of that culture, it is important to be educated on those people who contribute to cultural richness.”

The foreign language department celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month by encouraging students to study Hispanic figures. Spanish teachers assigned a project that focused on researching Hispanic figures of a student’s choice. Foreign Language Dean Lori Brown stated that the project would focus on “this person, their contributions to society, their early childhood influences, and what put them on the path that they are.” 

“I think a lot of students aren’t aware of the importance of [Hispanic Heritage Month] or the significance of Hispanic Heritage,” Mrs. Brown said. “I think it’s nice to dive into and see where everybody came from. Everybody’s got their own backgrounds, which is what makes them who they are.”

Spanish Honor Society provided its members with an opportunity to learn more about Hispanic culture in a meeting hosted by the school district on Oct. 6th. Students were able to learn from José Fernandez, an astronaut and Latino individual, who shared his personal journey and answered students’ questions. Spanish Honor Society President Amanda Ferber introduced the event by singing the national anthem. 

“Attending the Latinx Heritage Month event is a good opportunity for Spanish Honor Society members because they get to see successful Latinx and Hispanic citizens and hear about their experiences and the paths they took to achieve that success,” Ferber said.

For dance sophomore Jonelle Brinkley, spending time with her grandparents was a way to develop an appreciation for her family’s story and learn more about her Colombian heritage. 

“[My grandparents] came from another country not knowing the language, not knowing anything,” Brinkley said. “They barely had a high school education, so to see them go through all that and make it for me to have an amazing life is really cool. I’m glad to have this opportunity.”

Hispanic Heritage Month also created time to focus on appreciating specific aspects of Hispanic culture. Communications sophomore Olivia Klein said that this month, she made an effort to “play extra Spanish music, or watch Spanish TV shows more than just the regular ones,” in her household to honor the special time. 

For 52 years, Hispanic Heritage Month has highlighted Hispanic culture and celebration. From Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, students have been able to learn more about the influence of Latinx individuals and the importance of celebrating this month, which has contributed to a rich celebration of individuality and culture in and out of the classroom.

“I feel as a Hispanic individual, I see vibrancy in music and in the things I pursue,” Ferber said. “Hispanic culture includes a lot of a love of togetherness, a lot of celebrating, celebrating each other. Building off of each other, being very vibrant, energetic … As a Hispanic, I’m proud of my roots.”