A month of recognition for Hispanic Heritage


Eleanor Pekary

A collage of stories and images from Fontaine’s students.

Eleanor Pekary, Op/Ed Editor

Hispanic Heritage Month was a hit this year in part to Spanish teacher Mary Flores. From Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, Flores and a group of her students made morning announcements every day to celebrate Hispanic culture and important people within it.   

  “Hispanic Heritage Month is a month dedicated to all Hispanics [and] people from Central America basically getting their independence from other countries” Senior Fransisco Vazquez explains. 

  Hispanic Heritage Month originally lasted only a week until President Ronald Reagan proposed an extension for a month-long celebration in the 1980s. The month does not align with any particular month of the year, but rather makes its own month and for special reasons too. 

  Sept. 15th is significant for most Latin American countries because their independence days land within the days before and after Sept. 15. For example, Mexico’s Independence day is on the 16th, and Guatemala’s is the 15th. 

  Oct. 15th is the end of the month not only because it rounds off a full month, but because Dia de la Raza (The Day of Races) is three days before on Oct. 12th. Dia de la Raza is a celebration in Hispanic culture to embrace their re-gain of power after the massacre created by Christopher Columbus. 

  “Christopher Columbus was a conquistador…he’s not celebrated there,” Flores said. “So they celebrate Dia de la Raza as kind of like a takeover.” 

  The month also ends just in time to begin the celebration of Dia de los Muertos, The Day of the Dead. The Day of the Dead is at the end of October when Hispanic families pay respects to their deceased relatives.

  In addition to Flores’s work with the announcements, Spanish teacher Irina Fontaine and Librarian Laura Watkins banded together and created displays for the library windows. With the help of her students, Fontaine pulled together stories of what students miss about their home country.  

  Watkins also created a matching game of important people in hispanic culture to their descriptions, some of which are in Spanish. The goal of these activities was to bring awareness to Hispanic culture for studentswho may not be aware of the impacts they have. 

   What’s more, a handful of students helped Flores pull the announcements together, and, in turn, bonded over their passion for Hispanic culture.

  “Well, I get along with Mrs. Flores and we always talk about Hispanic culture and everything,  and I’m really interested in that because my parents are from Mexico as well,” Vazquez shares. “[Hispanic heritage] is what kind of interests me the most.”

  Sophomore Gabriella Pabon explains the impact and importance of Hispanic Heritage Month too. 

  “[The goal] is to try to encourage everybody to listen out and hear out and, to tell them facts about certain countries so they have more facts about it [and] they understand what us Hispanics go through.” Pabon explains passionately. 

  Flores and her students promoting this year to celebrate the Hispanic population here is just the first step of many. From the looks of it, these events will only flourish for the better, and continue to embrace the culture of hispanics in our very own student body.