Liberty Elementary students celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month in style with authentic Hispanic garb, music and dancing — lots of dancing.
In a program last Friday that took students on a representative journey of Christopher Columbus’ travels across Central and South America, LES fifth-graders displayed their dancing prowess to the beat of authentic songs native to various Hispanic regions.
LCSS Chief Academic Officer Mary Alexander emceed the event, telling students to “sit back, relax and enjoy the journey.”
Students then saw Christopher Columbus, played by fifth-grader Christian Miller, begin his voyage of discovery as he landed in the Dominican Republic, Colombia and Puerto Rico. At each destination, Columbus encountered indigenous people and celebrated their cultures with song and dance.
“We try to celebrate different cultures in the school, just make kids exposed to what’s out there,” LES Principal Chris Anderson said. “A lot of times, some of our students, they don’t have the opportunity to travel. So we kind of bring some things to them.”
Spearheading the Hispanic Heritage celebration was Yazmin Gonzalez, a paraprofessional who has been at LES for seven years and with LCSS for the past 16.
Gonzalez, a native of Puerto Rico, said she enjoys sharing Hispanic culture with the students and even teaches them bits of Spanish when she has time.
“The main thing, for me, is for them to learn about other countries and learn another language — it doesn’t have to be Spanish — just to empower them to learn other languages,” she said.
According to the National Hispanic Heritage Month’s website, Sept. 15-Oct. 15 marks the month in which the “histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America” are celebrated.
Started as a week-long celebration in 1968 under President Lyndon Johnson, the observance was expanded to a 30-day period under the Reagan administration in 1988, the website states.
“I learned a lot about Christopher Columbus,” Miller said. “I didn’t know that he discovered all these lands — I just thought he discovered America.”
More information on Hispanic Heritage Month is available at www.hispanicheritagemonth.gov.