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Hispanic Heritage Month left students wanting more

Owen Laser, Staff Reporter

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Latino Alliance, headed by Ms. Garcia, is responsible for organizing the festivities of Hispanic Heritage Month at Vernon Hills High School, which took place from Sept. 15 to Oct. 16. While the festivities aim to promote diversity, Latino Alliance members, teachers, and students said more can be done to celebrate Hispanic culture.     

  In order to celebrate this month, Ms. Garcia and Latino Alliance used trivia, such as facts about hispanic culture and famous hispanic idols, in the morning announcements to educate people on the culture. At the end of Hispanic Heritage Month, Latino Alliance had a booth where students came up to answer questions for a chance to win a piñata. Latino Alliance also hosted events where students could make piñatas and stuff them with candy.

  Ms. Bastiani, Spanish teacher at VHHS, decided to educate her classes on Hispanic culture, as she wanted to show her students the importance of Hispanic culture in America during Hispanic Heritage Month.

  “I made a lesson on Hispanic versus Latino, and the difference in the terms and the political correctness of those terms,” Bastiani shared.

  Bastiani explained how Hispanic means people of Spanish origin, from countries where people speak Spanish, whereas Latino means people who are from Latin America. Many countries fall into both categories.

  Ms. Garcia and Milen Aguilar (12), a member of the Latino Alliance, said it’s important for students to be aware of Hispanic Heritage Month.

   “We are trying to create more awareness in order for others to know some significant facts or important people that have done impactful things on America that have a Hispanic heritage,” Garcia said. “But, our main purpose is spread awareness and unity.”

  A member of the Latino Alliance, Milen Aguilar (12), explains why it’s important to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.    

  “I think it’s very important that this school does something for it, and even though it’s not much, I think it’s a step into doing something more than other schools do,” Aguilar stated.

  Aguilar, other members of Latino Alliance, and students not in Latino Alliance, agreed that the high school should do more to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.

   “I feel like academically, we lack a bit of variety, and I think it would be great if we could inform everyone about Hispanic heritage,” Evelyn Flores (12), Latino Alliance member, said.

  The viewpoint that not enough is being done isn’t just shared with most members of Latino Alliance, but it is also shared with some students as well.

  “I feel like it’s really nice to celebrate culture and diversity and the different people in the world that we should appreciate,” Amala Pattabiraman (9) said. “It would be nice to have like a day at the school where you could find about different stuff about the heritage during school or lunch.”

  Some teachers also said that they want more. One such teacher is Garcia, who agreed with students in wanting something more for this month.

   “I think it’s a little difficult because it’s the beginning of the school year and it’s homecoming, so there is a lot going on already,” Garcia said, “but our purpose is to do small things around the year for anyone who wants to come.”    

  Ms. Garcia stated that the reason this month is celebrated starting on the 15th of September is because a lot of Spanish-speaking countries have their day of independence on or near the 15th, like Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and more.   

  Ms. Bastiani agreed with the students and posed some solutions to the underwhelming festivities.

  “I think that it would be great, for example, to work with the Latino Alliance, International Club, and World Languages to do something to highlight those cultures since we have so many represented here at the high school,” Bastiani said. “It would be a great opportunity to band together and celebrate those cultures and languages we offer here at this school.”

   Although some may say that Vernon Hills High School doesn’t do enough to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, Ms. Bastiani stated that the diversity committee is working on it.

   “We talked about it last year in the diversity committee and how we wanted to do more, but we haven’t had a chance to meet since then and do anything about it,” Bastiani said.  “Not just yet.”

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The student newspaper of Vernon Hills High School
Hispanic Heritage Month left students wanting more