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The History of Hispanic Heritage Month at Westfield

Chandler Walker

Staff Writer

October 29, 2021

September 15 marks the start of Hispanic Heritage Month, a month honoring and recognizing the advancements and influence of Hispanic Americans on history and culture.

This year’s theme is “Esperanza: A Celebration of Hispanic Heritage and Hope.” This theme encourages us to look back on the advancements made by Hispanic Americans in the past and those to be made in the future. The observance of Hispanic Heritage began in 1968 under President Johnson and is still observed by people everywhere. In Westfield, Hispanic Heritage Month is important to teachers and students alike. It allows Hispanic students to share their unique cultures and stories of independence with those around them.

“I find Hispanic Heritage month is largely representation [for lesser-known Spanish speaking countries],” junior Daniella Solares said. “A lot of people only know Hispanic countries like Mexico or Spain, so it’s important to learn and share about all Spanish-speaking cultures.”

September 15 marks the anniversary of independence for five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico and Chile follow, celebrating their independence on September 16 and September 18, respectively.

“It’s helpful to have a place for Hispanics to feel at home and be with people that share their culture and be able to celebrate it,” Tanya Lloyd (11) said.

Westfield specifically has a long history of celebrating the month of September with multiple events and activities made to educate students about different cultures. Pre-Covid, there were events such as Jersey Day, immersion lunches, salsa dance lessons, and tortilla-making classes all put together by the Spanish and culinary teachers. This year, the planning looks a little different. With the introduction of SchoolCore, enrichment opportunities are now available to students during CORE. Enrichment sessions like tortilla making and weekly global trivia allow students to learn and have fun at the same time.

“A mi me encantó el mes de la herencia hispana,” Erick Luna, a graduate from Westfield, said. “La música en los pasillos me hizo sentir en casa. El día de fútbol fue muy especial para mi porque era mi noche de Seniors en el fútbol y el solo tener música hispana en el calentamiento me trajo mucha energía y alegría. Ese día lo voy a recordar por siempre. La música el viernes con Erilyn fue muy buena y hasta a mi mamá le impresionó lo bien que cantó. El lonche de inmersión fue muy divertido y yo pienso que debería pasar más seguido.”

English Translation: I loved the month of Hispanic inheritance," Eric Luna, a graduate of Westfield, said. "Music in the halls made me feel at home. Football day was very special to me because it was my Senior night in soccer and just having Spanish music in the warm-up brought me a lot of energy and joy. I'll remember that day forever. The music on Friday with Erilyn was really good, and even my mom was impressed by how well she sang. The dive was a lot of fun, and I think I should go more often."

With the ever-growing amount of diversity in Westfield, celebrating months of independence at school are a way to make students, new and old, feel at home.

“It was great seeing [students] share and celebrate their heritage,” Spanish language and culture teacher Mrs. Jen Hasler-Troutman said. “We loved seeing WHS families gather for our events too! Our students’ excitement about contributing and helping out with all of our activities was a special treat for WHS Teachers.”

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