Poudre School District strives to honor individuals and their diverse backgrounds – all of which come together to comprise the beautiful mosaic that is our PreK-12 community. That work continues during Hispanic Heritage Month, which takes place Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 every year.
This national heritage month is a time to recognize and celebrate the many cultures and extensive histories of the American Latinx community. The observation began in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period. 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.
About 60.6 million people in the U.S. are of Hispanic and Latino descent, and roughly 5,400 PSD students are of Hispanic descent, representing about 27% of our student body.
Irish Elementary celebrates the rich heritage of their school community all year long. With a diverse staff representing at least nine different Central and South American countries, the staff love to give students opportunities to learn about Hispanic culture through music, dance, art, games, biliteracy, food, folk lore and much more.
This is especially evident in the performing and visual arts classrooms, where teachers collaborate on lessons and ideas to enrich and encourage exploration of famous Latinos and Latinas. Through the after-school program, PSD After 3, students have opportunities to perform in the Mariachi Jaguares (ensemble), Coro Estrellitas (choir), and Flor Antigua (dance) groups.
“We will be excited (once we are able) to share the beautiful culture of our school with the community and PSD in May, when we take our groups on tour for Cinco de Mayo,” said Cynthia Rejman-Kattner, Music teacher at Irish Elementary School.
In English Language Development teacher Cindy Roller’s class at Boltz Middle School, students who are part of the Newcomer Program shared that they were happy to celebrate their culture. For Hispanic Heritage Month, the Newcomer class highlighted Latino heroes and famous people in the form of a bulletin board banner to post in the school.
The banner consists of quotes in English and Spanish. The students also picked an important person in the Hispanic culture – either current or historical – and completed pennant research writing project. The pennants will be posted under the banner in the school.
“It is a special time to see all the heroes in the Latino community,” said Efren Pineda Nunez, a Boltz student who is part of the Newcomer Program, which supports students who are from other countries.
“It makes me happy because I see Latino heroes that represent my culture and makes me feel like I can do it too,” exclaimed Ximena Miranda Morales, another Boltz Newcomer student.
When PSD honors a national heritage month that celebrates specific people, the purpose is to work together to recognize and learn from our diverse community members to celebrate these significant periods of history.
“This project reminds me of how special this time is to celebrate in my country, El Salvador, with family and friends,” said Kevin Bonilla Cruz, Newcomer student at Boltz Middle School.
Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month gives students an opportunity to authentically share their stories, Roller said, which helps them and their classmates to better understand one another and form deeper connections with each other.
“Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to celebrate diversity, recognize the achievements of Latinos, and build community within our classroom and school,” Roller said.