West Central HHM

As celebrations and awareness efforts for Hispanic Heritage Month are in full swing, West Central Elementary is not only celebrating, but they’re also dressing for the occasion.

The click of cowboy boots and the swish of colorful skirts graced the hallways of West Central as teachers and students celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month by learning about and dressing in traditional Latin American clothing.

ESOL (English to Speakers of Other Languages) teacher, Vilma Hernandez, said that the celebration of culture is very important, as it creates inclusivity among the students.

“I teach English as a second language,” Hernandez explained, “and I see my students overcome challenges every day while trying to learn English. I thought it would be nice to celebrate their culture because it’s very important; it’s a part of their personality. I just love seeing the kids come alive when they hear our Spanish word for the day.”

She said that she has noticed the excitement in her Spanish speaking students as they find themselves eager to talk about their culture. She said that one of her third grade students from Guatemala even taught her the correct term for the skirt and blouse that she was wearing.

“She taught me the specific word for the top and the skirt and the belt,” Hernandez said. “To me it was just a skirt and a blouse, but for her they’re very specific items and she was very proud to teach me that.”

Teachers and students happily wore their huipil, the vibrant floral embroidered blouse worn by indigenous women of central Mexico into Central America. The faja (or sash) created a colorful belt, tying in the huipil with the long flowing skirts and cortes (Mayan skirt typically handwoven on a foot powered treadle loom).

“I think all of our students are taking pride in it,” instructional specialist, McKensey Wheeler, said. “They’re not used to seeing this type of clothing every day when they come to school. They get to explain what each piece is and they’re really into it.”

In addition to traditional dress, West Central has included some authentic treats and cuisine as well. Wheeler said they had a Hispanic treat day where some of the Hispanic teachers introduced various sweet treats. They even had the Vamos Tacos food truck pay a visit to the campus.

Wheeler said that she really learned a lot during their celebration of Hispanic culture.

Hernandez and Wheeler expressed gratitude for the teachers involved in the committee to make Hispanic Heritage Month at West Central a special one as they learned about and honored a very rich culture. Committee members included third grade teacher, Joandra Mendoza, first grade teachers, Annette Tew and Nancy Vazquez, Erin Hall, fifth grade, Madison Wilfong, sixth grade, and math intervention and enrichment teacher, Alondra Monterrosa.

From everyone at West Central, Happy Hispanic Heritage Month!