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HCS celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

by DANNY WADE | Senior Editor

We live in the day where there is a day, a week, and a month for everything. You name it, there’s a day for it—be it an actual holiday (Christmas, 4th of July, etc.) or a specific item’s day (donut day, take your pet to work day, etc.).

LOTERÍA – Dr. Janice Epperson and Justin Rodriguez play Lotería, a Hispanic game similar to bingo, during Humboldt City Schools’ National Hispanic Heritage Month celebration last Thursday.

One important festivity that hits close to home is going on right now and Humboldt City Schools wanted to make sure this celebration received all the acclamations possible. September 15 through October 15 is National Hispanic Heritage Month.

Humboldt, like many cities and towns across the nation, has a rising and thriving Hispanic population that plays a big role in making the Strawberry City even more diversified.

HCS’s celebration took place in the Humboldt Jr./Sr. High School cafeteria. A good, diverse crowd showed up on Thursday, September 21 to enjoy the activities, many of which included food and games centered around the Hispanic culture. This was not an event for Hispanic people only—it was for anyone and everyone to attend to learn about and to celebrate Hispanic traditions.

Humboldt City Schools Federal Program Director Jennifer Roten coordinated the celebration. Members of the school system’s ESL (English as a Second Language) staff, ELL/Special Services Coordinator Kimberly Harvey, HJSHS ESL staff Tekia Denwiddie and ESL district translator Crystal Hunt, all played a major role for the festivities.

Humboldt City Schools Superintendent Dr. Janice Epperson attended as well. Dr. Epperson made sure everyone had a good time. She visited with the students and families, and even led a group in salsa dancing.

There were special Hispanic culture refreshments to enjoy. Hunt led the crowd in a game of Lotería, which is very similar to bingo. Each winner received a prize.

At the end of the program, everyone gathered together for a group photo. Over 50 students, family members, school staff and other visitors attended the National Hispanic Heritage Month celebration.

According to websites, National Hispanic Heritage Month (Spanish: Mes nacional de la herencia hispana) is annually

HOPING TO WIN – Mother and daughter Bianca Vergara and Natalia Vergara are hopeful they win a bingo-like game of Lotería. Humboldt schools hosted a celebration of Hispanic culture in the HJSHS cafeteria.

celebrated from September 15 to October 15 in the United States for recognizing the contributions and influence of Hispanic Americans to the history, culture, and achievements of the United States.

National Hispanic Heritage Week was established by legislation and signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson in 1968, taking place on the week including both September 15 and 16. In 1988, the commemorative week was expanded to a month (September 15 to October 15) by legislation and signed into law by President Ronald Reagan. September 15 was chosen as the starting point for the commemoration because it is the anniversary of the Cry of Dolores, September 16, 1810, which marked the start of the Mexican War of Independence. In 1821, this resulted in independence for the New Spain Colony, (now the Mexico and the Central American nations of Guatemala, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Honduras, and Nicaragua), which became the Federal Republic of Central America.

President Johnson first proclaimed Hispanic Heritage Week in 1968. Presidents Nixon, Ford, Carter and Reagan gave annual proclamations for Hispanic Heritage Week between 1969 and 1988. President George H. W. Bush first proclaimed national Hispanic Heritage Month on September 14, 1989. Since 1989, all Presidents have given a Presidential Proclamation to mark Hispanic Heritage Month.

Thursday evening was the third annual National Hispanic Heritage Month celebration hosted by Humboldt City Schools. Each year, the event has grown in attendance. Roten said this school year has seen a huge increase in Hispanic students enrolled with Humboldt City Schools, which has almost doubled the student population. Last year, there were around 35 Hispanic students in the school district. This year, there are now over 70. Roten believes these numbers could continue to rise in the future, which translates into next year’s celebration being bigger and better.

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