MERIDEN — The celebrations of Hispanic Heritage Month concluded Friday at Lincoln Middle School, where music, dancing, art displays and academic projects were highlighted in an effort to honor culture.
School Principal John Kuckel said the idea was to hold a school-wide event where each class had the opportunity of celebrating Hispanic heritage in their own way.
Eighth graders worked on a portrait project featuring Hispanic athletes, musicians, world influencers and “Hispanic Heroes of Meriden.” Students drew portraits in art class and interviewed or researched biographical information in social studies class.
Eliza Agosto created a portrait of Dr. Lysette Torres, director of Equity & Instruction for Meriden Public Schools. Agosto said she enjoyed creating the portrait and interviewing Torres to learn more about her. Celebrating Hispanic heritage at school means a lot to Agosto because she wants more students to get to know the culture, she added.
Representatives from Willie’s Salsa Euphoria, a dance studio in New Britain, gave Lincoln Middle School students salsa lessons on Friday as part of the school’s celebration. Evan Gray, the school’s band director, led the school band as they played live music for students dancing on the stage.
On Oct. 15, Washington Middle School hosted a mariachi performance by the Spanish Community of Wallingford’s School of Music. Some of the performers are students at Meriden Public Schools.
Eric Lopez, assistant principal at Washington, said having a Hispanic Heritage celebration at the school was “wonderful.”
Lopez, who has Puerto Rican roots, said he was grateful for the mariachi presentation because some students don’t get to see those kinds of performances often.
“It’s just nice to share something different with them,” Lopez said.
He thanked Marissa Cardona, family-school liaison, for putting the event together.
At the end of the performance, a question and answer session was held.
Students asked the performers about mariachi music and the instruments they used.
The school staff hid Hispanic heritage themed t-shirts underneath some of the seats in the auditorium.
Every Friday during Hispanic Heritage Month, which officially ended Oct. 15, the school also played Spanish music in an outdoor lunch area, Lopez said.
In addition, during morning announcements Hispanic historical figures were highlighted along with staff members.
“I’m just looking forward to doing more of this next year,” Lopez said.
Students at Edison Middle School celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month with academic projects and classroom and hallway decorations.
Nate Testroet, a science teacher, assigned students a project to research and create a presentation about Hispanic science influencers.
Healey Mata, one of Testroet’s students, did a presentation on the life of Carlos Juan Finlay, who studied yellow fever.
Student Kelvin Davila, explained he enjoyed learning about Jose Hernandez, a man that was turned down eleven times for astronaut training by NASA and was selected the twelfth time he tried.
Student Masarrat Iddrisu’s project was about Baruj Benacerraf, a Nobel prize winner for his work in physiology and medicine.
In English class, students learned about mythical creatures and other beliefs in the Hispanic culture.
Amy Bishop, a social studies teacher, said her department asked students to explore countries, flags and cultures.
Bishop explained that it is nice the school is focusing on having Hispanic heritage as part of its academics as it is important for the curriculum to reflect the number of Hispanic students in the district.