Between September 15 and October 15, Americans all over the country celebrate National Hispanic American month. This observation, started in 1968 under President Lyndon Johnson, pays tribute to the generations of Hispanic Americans who have positively influenced and enriched our nation. During the month of observance, several Latin American countries celebrate their independence, including Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, and Chile.
At Renbrook, Lower School students have celebrated in different ways. The fourth graders did a research project on influential Hispanic people whose lives and careers inspire others to achieve success. These personalities have touched everything from pop culture to rocket science, like Ellen Ochoa, the first Hispanic woman in the world to go into space; Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of the Broadway musical Hamilton; the multi-talented superstar Jennifer Lopez; or the Nobel prize winner, Mario Molina.
Audrey researched the Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina to hold that position in U.S. history. Audrey said Sotomayor inspires her because "she knows that women are strong and can be anything." Oliver wrote about the baseball player Roberto Clemente. Oliver says, "I want to be just like him and be a famous baseball player one day."
In a joint effort, third and first graders created an Hispanic Heritage Tree utilizing the 21 Spanish-speaking countries and some interesting facts about each of them. Our third-grade researchers had a lot to share. We learned from Jordan that Equatorial Guinea is home to baboons, hyenas, and poisonous snakes. Henry discovered some interesting facts about Panama and added a visual component by drawing a boat crossing the Panama Canal. Other students worked with sensory elements. William writes, "I can hear trumpets, drums, and flutes in the Ecuador National Anthem."
The second graders got into the action by having a salsa class and learning how salsa music, originating in Cuba, was later developed in New York City using the Afro-Cuban music styles combined with American jazz. The perfect weather allowed us to practice our salsa dance skills in the quad, and they are eager to show the Renbrook community their salsa skills.
This year's theme, Esperanza, invites us to reflect on how great our tomorrow can be if we hold onto our resilience and hope. The United States has the second-largest Hispanic population in the world, only behind Mexico! National Hispanic American Month encourages reflection on the many contributions Hispanics have made in the past and will continue to make in the future. It is also a reminder that we are stronger together!