Students at Liberty Elementary School enjoyed the rhythmic styles and diverse culture of Latin America during the school’s annual Hispanic heritage culture program for National Hispanic Heritage month.
Yazmin Gonzalez, paraprofessional for kindergarten through fifth grade, is originally from Puerto Rico and every year she hosts a cultural program highlighting Hispanic culture through dance, music, traditional clothing and language.
Student participants in the program danced on stage in traditional clothing, while Gonzalez’s performance group Tradicíon Borikua played the conga drums. Students danced the bachata from the Dominican Republic and newcomer to the group Alexandra Downer did the bomba from Puerto Rico.
The audience danced in their seats and clapped along to the music as their classmates danced on stage.
Christopher Columbus and Queen Isabelle of Spain were portrayed by two students, demonstrating the queen’s blessing to Columbus to explore the world.
Gonzalez had the audience recite Spanish vocabulary they have been learning. Students showed off their ability to count to 10 in Spanish. Some were able to recite numbers past 10.
In September 1968, Congress authorized President Lyndon B. Johnson to proclaim National Hispanic Heritage Month, from Sept. 15 through Oct. 15. Gonzalez said she was thankful that Liberty Elementary Principal Chris Anderson allows her to share her culture with a special program each year.
"I am so proud to be Puerto Rican but at the same time we are so proud to be in this great nation of the United States," she said. "We love it. I had a dream a long time ago and I fulfilled my dreams over here."