October 11, 2019
Oct. 11, 2019—In observing National Hispanic Heritage Month, CFISD schools celebrated students’ Hispanic heritage and the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America through parades, projects and specific lessons.
National Hispanic Heritage Month runs from Sept. 15 to Oct.15. The observation of National Hispanic Heritage Month began in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon B. Johnson. President Ronald Reagan expanded the observation period to a month in 1988. Sept. 15 is not only the start of National Hispanic Heritage Month, but is also the anniversary of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua’s independence. Within the month, Mexico and Chile also celebrate their independence.
Metcalf Elementary School
Metcalf Elementary School celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month by hosting a parade around the school on Oct. 4. Students decorated masks, made posters highlighting different Hispanic countries and dressed in traditional Hispanic clothing.
“We are proud of our diversity within the staff and students at Metcalf,” said Gauri Kulkarni, Metcalf instructional specialist. “National Hispanic Heritage Month is one of the biggest celebrations at Metcalf. Students and staff participate to create an environment in our school to celebrate the rich Hispanic heritage within our school, community and entire district.”
Metcalf also highlighted significant Hispanic Americans during announcements each day and hosted a Hispanic lunch on the last Friday of the month.
Hemmenway Elementary School
Hemmenway Elementary School Pre-K teacher Maria Castillo decided to assign her students a take home project to help celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. Castillo asked her students, and their parents, to decorate a paper doll representing their Hispanic culture. Castillo then displayed the dolls in the hallway.
“I believe that parent involvement in their child’s education is a must,” Castillo said. “What better opportunity to have parents work with their kids to make a project that represents their culture?”
Castillo received positive feedback from both students and parents about the project.
“The day the kids turned in their projects they were very excited to turn them in,” Castillo said. “One parent even sent me a message saying she and her daughter had a lot of fun making the doll. It was a great project all around.”
Holbrook Elementary School
For Holbrook Elementary School, celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month is nothing new. Holbrook hosts Hispanic Heritage Night each year, where parents and students are invited to participate in multiple activities and crafts celebrating Hispanic heritage. This year’s event took place on Oct. 8.
Some of the activities included celebrating traditional songs and dance with Holbrook’s music teacher Jennifer Ciocan and creating flowers and crosses while discussing the altar for Dia de Los Muertos or Day of the Dead, which is a Mexican holiday where families and friends remember loved ones that have died. At the end of the night, corn in a cup served with agua de Jamaica, a special fruit drink, was available while the CFISD Mariachi Band performed traditional songs.
“Holbrook has, for several years, celebrated Hispanic Heritage Night,” said Abe Lozano, principal of Holbrook. “Our community has always enjoyed our celebrations and this is one of our major community events. We feel it is important that we celebrate Hispanic Heritage because of the opportunity we get to teach our students about the unique traditions that they might not be accustomed to from the Hispanic culture. We are blessed to live in such a diverse community and celebrating the uniqueness of different cultures is a quality we want for our community.”
Thornton Middle School
When students arrived at campus each morning, Thornton Middle School’s marquee read “Orgullo Patriota!” meaning patriot pride in Spanish. Thornton celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month with not only the sign but with other activities and displays.
Some included a book display featuring autobiographies on famous Hispanic Americans and Hispanic authors, having a dedicated advisory lesson each Wednesday throughout the month and wearing soccer jerseys supporting staff and student’s favorite Hispanic team.
Cypress Park High School
Posters and book displays helped Cypress Park High School students learn more about Hispanic countries and Hispanic and Latino Americans and authors.
“Here at Cy Park one of the biggest reasons we wanted to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month was to bring cultural awareness and highlight heritage,” said Carmen Lozano, Cypress Park assistant principal. “We wanted to make sure that when we talk about Hispanic heritage we’re talking about multiple countries, not just one.”
In the hallways and flex spaces, a tree with different Hispanic countries’ flags was displayed, with different biographies highlighting famous Hispanic Americans. In the library, different books featuring Hispanic and Latino Americans and authors were on display and available for checkout. Cypress Park also shared fun facts about Hispanic cultures during announcements and played different music during passing periods.
During a community circle during class, students and teachers talked about what they believed represented Hispanic heritage and why they believed it was important to celebrate.