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Ritenour Schools Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month at Marion ElementaryRitenour Schools celebrated Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month that spanned over September and October 2021 that showcased the cultural diversity within the district with a variety of celebrations, learning activities and displays of cultural artifacts and students’ work.

As part of Ritenour Middle School’s new diversity,equity, and inclusion initiative this year, students, families and staff are celebrating a different culture each month. Throughout October as part of Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month, a group of student leaders helped translate and say morning announcements in Spanish that included birthdays, the lunch menu and Pledge of Allegiance

RMS students and staff members also brought personal Latin American cultural artifacts into school to be on display throughout the month near the gym. Small replicas of Latinx markets, shelf-stable snacks, currency, home decor, Dia de Los Muertos items and other cultural pieces filled the display case throughout the month. 

RMS student leaders also highlighted Central and South American culture on bulletin boards that welcomed students and staff in the front entryway, and a section of the school library showcased Latinex history and culture through an array of fiction and non-fiction books. The month culminated with a Dia de Los Muertos dance for students. 

At Marion Elementary, Geri Ross’ second grade bilingual class celebrated Hispanic Heritage month with an evening fiesta on Oct. 14 after several weeks of a special learning project. 

“It was the culmination of a month of research, reflection and exploration of our diverse Hispanic heritages,” said Ross. “We featured books we had read, arts and crafts that reflect and celebrate Hispanic traditions and musical instruments from all around Central and South America.

Marion music teacher Maria Fisher extended students’ learning with a diverse assortment of instruments and explained their origins. Families also brought flags from their home countries and wore traditional clothing.

Another highlight of the fiesta was traditional Hispanic cultural foods that families shared, including paletas, traditional Mexican popsicles that were featured in a book students read, “The Paletero Man.” 

Another special element was a Guatemalan art activity, based on the book that students read, titled “Silly Billy” (“Ramón Preocupón”). The book introduced the tradition of Guatemalan worry dolls (muñecas quitapenas or quitapesares). At the fiesta, students and families had the opportunity to create their own worry dolls. 

Before the fiesta ended, students got a crack at a piñata! Take a look at a highlights video... 

The fiesta was so successful that staff are starting to plan a celebration for next year on a bigger scale, Ross said. 

Each Iveland Elementary class spent time learning and celebrating Hispanic Heritage month. Take a look at some of their learning...

Students at the International Welcome Center celebrated their heritage with lesson plans centered on Latinx history, guest speakers from Latinx communities, and a special luncheon where they got to eat their own traditional food along with trying traditional dishes from their peers' cultures. Speakers were from Mexico, Nicaragua, Brazil, Honduras and Colombia. They spoke to students about their professions in the fields of medicine, fine arts, law, and advocacy. Two of the speakers were former IWC students. A special thank you goes to El Comal for donating over $700 worth of delicious Honduran food for the fiesta. Check out the IWC highlight video.