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National Hispanic Heritage Month Celebrates “A History of Serving Our Nation”

National Hispanic Heritage Month is underway, and students in Lower School have been learning about and sharing the many contributions Hispanic people have made to our nation.

This year’s theme is “A History Of Serving Our Nation.” As Lower School Spanish teachers Carmen Hernandez and Ana Maria Mendez explained, they’ve worked with students to explore “the hard work many Hispanic people do in our country in different areas.”

“Hispanic Heritage Month is an exciting time to celebrate culture with my students,” Mendez said. “One of my favorite ways to teach about culture and heritage is through music and art. This year, we are talking about the millions of Americans who have Hispanic roots and have made an undeniable impact in our community. We’ve talked about the Spanish teachers in Ravenscroft, families and all the people that help us and do better our school! 

“Last week, my kindergarten students and I talked about the fact that there are many Hispanic teachers working in the USA teaching Spanish and English as a Second Language (ESL),” Hernandez added. “My second-grade classes reflected on the hard work many Hispanic people do in the fields. Thanks to them we can taste delicious fruits and vegetables. Some of my students noted that the doctors and dentists they see are from Hispanic countries. There are also many Hispanic American people serving in the U.S. armed forces.”

The annual celebration takes place Sept. 15-Oct. 15 as a time to recognize and celebrate the many contributions, diverse cultures and extensive histories of the American Latino community. Beginning in 1968, Hispanic Heritage Month was originally observed as “Hispanic Heritage Week” under President Lyndon Johnson, but it was later extended to a month in 1988 under President Ronald Reagan.

Since then, the month has been celebrated nationwide through festivals, art shows, conferences, community gatherings and much more. The month also celebrates the independence days of several Latin American countries, including Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua on Sept. 15, Mexico on Sept.16 and Chile on Sept. 18. They also include holidays that recognize Hispanic contributions, such as Virgin Islands-Puerto Rico Friendship Day that is celebrated in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Hernandez and Mendez also shared resources for classroom teachers to integrate into their work with students. Photos of student activities are on display in the Lower School outside the second-grade center. 

The celebration reminds us all of the many ways diversity is a source of strength for America. 

“As Cesar Chavez, an American labor leader, said, ‘We need to help students and parents cherish and preserve the ethnic and cultural diversity that nourishes and strengthens this community — and this nation,” Mendez concluded.