AT reflects, celebrates during Hispanic Heritage Month

AT honored its Latinx student population through expanding cultural awareness and celebrating traditions during Hispanic Heritage Month. While the committee has made progress over the years, staff and students believe AT can do more to celebrate its Latinx population.

Between Sept. 15- Oct. 15, AT integrated Hispanic culture in and out of the classroom. 

During passing period, the speakers solely played Hispanic music: songs like Blanco y Negro and songs from Coco.

“I felt happy when they [AT] played Hispanic music during passing period. It made me feel welcomed as someone who has grown up listening to this music. I enjoyed pointing out the song choices to my non-Hispanic friends,” said senior Atziri Valbuena.

AT hosted a soccer game, where Hispanic food and celebratory items were sold.

The HHM committee held a spirit week to spread Blazer spirit while simultaneously raising awareness for HHM. 

On Monday, Blazers dressed up as La Catrina, one of the most prominent figures in Dia de Los Muertos; On Tuesday, Blazers represented their own cultures to celebrate Dia de La Independencia; On Wednesday, Blazers wore college gear for Si se puede College Day! Thursday, Blazers dressed like Frida Kahlo: a well-known cultural icon in Latinx culture and beyond. 

Both Hispanic and non-Hispanic students were able to participate in Spirit week, but some students felt the spirit week did not receive much attention.

“I feel like Hispanic Heritage Month spirit week would have been much better if students had participated and gotten more involved,” said junior Isadora Esquibel. 

Behind the events is the Hispanic Heritage Month Planning Committee headed by Guidance Counselor Mr. Fernandez. His goal for HHM is to highlight how Latinx culture is everywhere, from AT’s student body to American culture.

“Being a first generation, Latinx man, it means understanding who I am, understanding who the people around me are, teaching it to my own children how important Latinx culture is. We are not a token singer, food, this, or that. We are American culture, and it is my goal to show that Latinx culture is everywhere, ” he said.

Other students agreed with the importance of celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month.

“A lot of our school is Hispanic, and it’s important for non-Hispanic students to learn to celebrate our diversity. If they are more knowledgeable of our culture, they will be more accepting,” said senior Ayme Aguilar. 

While the celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month was prominent at AT, many agreed more could have been done.

“I would have liked to see a DJ playing Hispanic music during lunch or in the mornings. Music is a big part of my identity as a Latina, and I would have loved for it to be a bigger part of Hispanic Heritage Month,” said senior Ayme Aguilar.

Mr. Fernandez says he will start planning earlier for next school year. 

“I envision it, and the committee envisions it, with greater ideas, but with the time frame that we have to plan, it becomes awareness instead of education. I think that’s the fault of us as adults. Ideally, I would want to see guest speakers. I would want to see professors, educators, open panels about different cultures, events during the school year where there is learning going on… To book a guest speaker that’s impactful, you can’t book them two weeks before the event. It needs to be thought of earlier,” said Mr. Fernandez.

Hispanic Heritage Month is a growing celebration at AT.

Mr. Fernandez shares his satisfaction with AT as a welcoming place for Blazers of all backgrounds.

“Addison Trail is the right place with the right conditions to celebrate diversity. It’s not like that everywhere,” he says.

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