By Karim Salahie ('25)
For the past month, students may have seen posters throughout the school or on VTN about understanding the importance of Hispanic Heritage Month. Bringing attention to this nationally recognized month in order to celebrate the diversity at SBHS has been popular amongst students and staff. Hispanic Heritage Month, which begins on September 15, started as a nationally celebrated week in 1968 under President Lyndon Johnson and was later extended to a month under President Ronald Reagan in 1988. It was created to celebrate the importance of Hispanic culture in the US and to recognize diversity in the country.
It may seem odd that Hispanic Heritage Month starts and ends in the middle of two months rather than the duration of a single month. However, ranging from September to October allows the uneven month to span across several Latin American countries’ independence days. It lets the significance of Hispanic culture in the United States be honored.
Spanish teacher, Señora Andrea Ebbighausen mentioned that she wants to stray away from the stereotypes that many people think of when they hear “Hispanic.” Instead, she wants everyone to recognize that there are “different things about every Hispanic” including their foods, dresses, beliefs, and ways of speaking the language.
Placing common stereotypes, like associating Hispanic recipes with only tacos and burritos, is harmful to the Hispanic community and, as Señora Ebbighausen mentioned, it is critical that people are educated to steer clear of them so the differences and diversity within their culture are acknowledged.
While many people are open to learning about other cultures, others are a bit more hesitant. However, what they do not realize is that there are many examples of different cultures that appear in people’s daily lives, especially since the Hispanic community is large in the US.
Famous artists such as Jennifer Lopez, Shakira, Lin-Manuel Miranda- the star and producer of the hit musical, Hamilton- comedian Gabriel Iglesias, and many more who are widely loved and appreciated have impacted the music industry tremendously.
Freshman Adrian Camarillo stated in an interview that he feels his culture is “very much represented at SBHS and [he] appreciates seeing the showing of diversity,” which he noted makes him and many others feel empowered and proud to have a different background. This is a positive step forward in making sure diversity is embraced at SBHS.
But what has the school done to actually teach about Hispanic Heritage?
Students in Spanish classes, including freshman Aahil Sikkander, chose a person to research and learn about. The students then presented this new information to their classmates and had other language classes walk around to also learn about these people.
For his research, Sikkander said that he chose Frida Kahlo and “enjoyed learning about her life story and works of art.”
With more students learning about Hispanic cultures and prominent Hispanic figures, communities are actively recognizing Hispanic Heritage Month which allows people to learn more about different cultures.
Additionally, if a student has a question regarding this month, they should not hesitate to ask a friend or a teacher.