Justin Ramon – Mustangs Ahead

hispanic heritage artifacts
LRHS Spanish teacher Lillian Martinez decorates her room with artifacts that express Hispanic heritage

(LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL)- Hispanic Heritage month started Sept. 15 and ends on Oct. 18. The celebration starts in the middle of the month because on this day, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala, and Nicaragua gained their independence. Mexico, Chile, and Belize also celebrate their independence days during this period.

Hispanic heritage month originally started out as Hispanic heritage week in 1968 under president Lyndon Johnson. It was not only until 1988 when president Ronald Reagan expanded it over a 30-day period.

All around the country people participate in festivals and parties to celebrate the history, culture, and contributions of Spanish speaking countries. Guests enjoy Latin American foods, music, cultural dance contributions, and arts.

Today, 57.5 million people of the American population are of Hispanic or Latino origin. The term Hispanic or Latino refers to Puerto Rican, South or Central America, or Spanish culture or origin. Latinos make up the largest group of immigrants in most states.

LRHS teachers and students celebrate this month in different way.

Spanish teacher Sharelie Rodriguez is very proud of her culture and is excited to celebrate this month. She said, “Hispanic Heritage Month, to me, means recognizing that Hispanics contribute and enrich our nation and society every single day. We, Hispanics, have a very rich culture that deserves to be celebrated and shared.”

Mustangs say being Hispanic is something people should be proud of and they deserved to be recognized for the contribution to society. Many seniors around the Ranch are Hispanic and that means different thing to them all.

“I like the Hispanic culture. I do want to keep the culture in my life and make sure my kids also know Spanish,” said senior Sienna Rodriquez.

Junior Claudia Estevez was born in Cuba.

“I was really young when I moved here from Cuba, so I don’t really remember much about life in that country,” she said. “Hispanic Heritage month gives me an opportunity to learn about the culture because I get to see how people from there and other Hispanic countries eat, what music they listen to, and what their mannerisms are. I don’t personally feel too attached to the culture, but I do speak Spanish and that definitely opens the doors for me to get more involved.”

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