For the past month, McNicholas has celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month. Starting September 15 and ending October 15, it is the celebration of those from Hispanic heritage and the recognition of their contributions to society.
“The origination of Hispanic Heritage Month came in the 1960’s by a decree from the president, President Johnson. However, for us, it is through the organization Hands Across Campus [that was established three years ago] where we celebrate diversity, inclusion, and cultures,” Theology teacher and Hands Across Campus moderator Ms. Teresa Davis said.
Hispanic Heritage Month takes the time to recognize and appreciate everyone from Hispanic culture, no matter where they are from, Spanish teacher Ms. Anne Hermann said. “It’s just unfortunate that people see them as being a burden,” she added.
Hands Across Campus is bringing Hispanic celebrations to the community by opening the Ofrenda, located at the front of the Convent, built by Hands Across Campus. The Ofrenda is a table with pictures, letters, and other objects that help people remember and honor those who have passed. Hands Across Campus members have also led Friday morning prayers in Spanish and hosted the making of papel picados during C.R.E.W. The papel picados are decorations used to celebrate major holidays in which designs are cut on brightly colored folded paper and strung together to create a banner than is then displayed in doorways and along the streets. The papel picados from CREWs were hung in the glass hallway along with informational posters of people of Hispanic heritage who have contributed to the arts and sciences. The Friday Morning Mass on Oct. 15 will be a bilingual Mass in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month and will be held at 7 a.m. in the chapel.
“Immigrants and Latinas in general are part of the minorities in this country, and I feel like it’s important to recognize them and the value that they have,” Hands Across Campus member senior Jennifer Fries said.
There are many ways to continue to celebrate Hispanic heritage once October 15 is over. Hispanics and Latinas celebrate their culture through many things, such as their food, dances, songs, and traditions and celebrations. Some ways we can continue to celebrate is to bring about Hispanic culture-relevant things and people, listening to new Hispanic music, watching movies in other languages, viewing artworks created by Hispanic artists, and opening our minds to other cultures Davis said.
Hermann hopes that the McNicholas community takes away a positive viewpoint from this month of recognition.
“I hope students have come to recognize that we need to move from tolerance of people to acceptance of people,” Hermann said.
The population of Hispanic culture is small at McNicholas High School, so Fries hopes that students can walk away from this month with more understanding of this culture.
“I feel like the culture is definitely under-recognized,” Fries said.