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Hispanic Heritage Month

Posted by Kelly Conn on 27 Sep 2011

“Many Backgrounds, Many Stories…One American Spirit”

Each year students across the nation observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15 by celebrating the histories, cultures, and contributions of Americans whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.

The observation started 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. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988.

September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September 18 respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30 day period.

Each year the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute proposes a theme in honoring the values and customs of the Hispanic and Latino/a cultures. At The Chestnut Hill school we would like to embrace this year's theme: “Many Backgrounds, Many Stories…One American Spirit”. The assembly on September 30th will feature Liliana Attar, an Argentinian storyteller. Ms. Attar creates learning through the sharing of a fable, “A Frog’s Dream,”  and invites the children to engage in the learning of different Latin American cultures through dance, engaging everyone in the spirit of this celebration.

One of the pillars of the CHS Diversity statement is to broaden students cross- cultural understanding to help them “think big” and to embrace and contribute to the diverse world in which they live . Learning about a culture involves getting to know the people who are a part of this culture. As part of their Spanish curriculum and in the spirit of collaborative learning students in grades 4 to 6 will engage in a project together with Tenacre Country Day School to recognize famous Hispanic and Latino/a artists, entertainers, teachers, scientists, writers, politicians,  and more, who have made significant contributions to the United States.  Students will create an online voice thread sharing the life stories and accomplishments of 40 Hispanic and Latino/a leaders. Comments left in the voice thread by students will be both in Spanish and in English. We will post the link to the voice thread on the web welcoming any comments you may have.

In a similar manner, students in grades 1-3 will collaborate with Tenacre to create another voice thread about animals and products of Latin American origin that came to the United States. The link to this voice thread will also be posted online.

To make the learning experience more fun and engaging we have prepared three creative surprises for the CHS community. To start, on Friday September 30th we invite faculty and staff to a special Hispanic and Latino/a breakfast!