Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated annually in the United States from September 15 to October 15. Read Dr. Vázquez Matos' letter for more information about this important observance and how HPS is celebrating.

September 16, 2020


Dear Families, Colleagues, Friends, and Community Partners,

Each year from September 15 to October 15, we as a country celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month. During this month, Holyoke Public Schools takes time to celebrate the history, cultures, language, and contributions of Hispanics and Latinx people to our city and this country.  This is also an opportunity for us as a school district to affirm and demonstrate our commitment to diversity, inclusion, and equity for all of our students, staff, and community.

The City of Holyoke has a rich and beautiful history of Hispanic people making profound contributions across all sectors of the community, and that tradition continues today.  Holyoke Public Schools proudly serves nearly 4,200 students (about 81% of our enrollment) who identify as Hispanic or Latino/a/x. We also are proud that our staff includes so many Hispanic and Latinx individuals leading, educating, and supporting our students throughout the school district. As a Hispanic myself, who came to the mainland U.S. from Puerto Rico at a young age as an English Learner, I join our Hispanic and Latino/s/x students, families, and staff in celebrating our experiences and journeys during this month and beyond.

Over the next four weeks, we will share with the community through our website and social media platforms some of the creative ways that our schools showcase and celebrate Hispanic heritage and the innovative ways that our teachers incorporate the history of Hispanics in America into their lessons in art, literature, music, social studies, world languages, and more.

I invite you to join us in celebrating this month. Additionally, I encourage you to visit our website to discover activities to help you explore Hispanic history with your student and affirm our district’s commitment to honoring the rich diversity of the Holyoke Public Schools.  ¡Celebra con orgullo el Mes de la Herencia Hispana!



Dr. Alberto Vázquez Matos, Receiver/ Superintendent of Schools

16 de septiembre de 2020


Estimadas familias, colegas, amigos y socios de la comunidad,

Cada año, del 15 de septiembre al 15 de octubre, nosotros como país celebramos el Mes Nacional de la Herencia Hispana. Durante este mes, las Escuelas Públicas de Holyoke se toman el tiempo para celebrar la historia, las culturas, el lenguaje y las contribuciones de los hispanos y los latinos a nuestra ciudad y a este país.  Esta es también una oportunidad para nosotros como distrito escolar para afirmar y demostrar nuestro compromiso con la diversidad, la inclusión y la equidad para todos nuestros estudiantes, personal y comunidad.

La Ciudad de Holyoke tiene una historia rica y hermosa de gente hispana haciendo profundas contribuciones a través de todos los sectores de la comunidad, y esa tradición continúa hoy en día.  Las Escuelas Públicas de Holyoke orgullosamente sirven a casi 4,200 estudiantes (cerca del 81% de nuestra matrícula) que se identifican como hispanos o latinos. También estamos orgullosos de que nuestro personal incluye tantos individuos hispanos y latinos que lideran, educan y apoyan a nuestros estudiantes en todo el distrito escolar. Como hispano, que llegué a los Estados Unidos continental desde Puerto Rico a una edad temprana como estudiante aprendiz de inglés, me uno a nuestros estudiantes, familias y personal hispanos y latinos para celebrar nuestras experiencias y viajes durante este mes y más allá.

Durante las próximas cuatro semanas, compartiremos con la comunidad a través de nuestro sitio web y plataformas de medios sociales algunas de las formas creativas en que nuestras escuelas muestran y celebran la herencia hispana y las formas innovadoras en que nuestros maestros incorporan la historia de los hispanos en Estados Unidos en sus lecciones de arte, literatura, música, estudios sociales, idiomas mundiales y más.

Los invito a unirse a nosotros para celebrar este mes. Además, le animo a visitar nuestro sitio web para descubrir actividades que le ayuden a explorar la historia hispana con su estudiante y afirmar el compromiso de nuestro distrito de honrar la rica diversidad de las Escuelas Públicas de Holyoke.  ¡Celebren con orgullo el Mes de la Herencia Hispana!



Dr. Alberto Vázquez Matos, Receptor/ Superintendente de Escuelas

Celebrate with us on Social Media!

We invite you to join our social media  “Hispanic Heritage Month Celebrations”:

  • Sept. 14th – 30th – Share an image of you and your family, along with words describing what Hispanic Heritage means to you.
  • Oct. 1st – 15th – Share a photo, name and note about a local Hispanic American who has contributed to our community or nation.


Email your information to social@hps.holyoke.ma.us or post on your social media, and tag us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram (use our #proud2bHPS hashtag). Every entry will be entered into a raffle for an Amazon gift card.

Continue the Celebration!


Celebrate and learn about Hispanic accomplishments, history, and cultures outside of our schools throughout the year. Listed below are websites and books that contain ideas and activities that can be used this month and throughout the year.

Suggested Reading

Elementary Grades (K-5)

  • All Around Us by Xelena Gonzalez, illustrated by Adriana M. Garcia
  • Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal
  • Carmela Full of Wishes by Matt de la Peña, illustrated by Christian Robinson
  • Danza! Amalia Hernandez and el Ballet Folklórico de México by Duncan Tonatiuh
  • Dreamers by Yuyi Morales
  • Juana & Lucas by Juana Medina
  • Julián is a Mermaid by Jessica Love
  • Just Ask! by Sonia Sotomayor, illustrated by Raphael Lopez
  • La Princesa and the Pea by Susan Middleton Elya, illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal
  • Lucía the Luchadora by Cynthia Leonor Garza, illustrated by Alyssa Bermudez
  • Marvelous Maravilloso: Me and My Beautiful Family by Carrie Lara, illustrated by Christine Battuz
  • The Secret Footprints by Julia Alvarez, illustrated by Fabian Negrin
  • Side by Side/Lado a Lado: The Story of Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez by Monica Brown, illustrated by Joe Cepeda
  • Ugly Cat & Pablo by Isabel Quintero, illustrated by Tom Knight
  • Waiting for the Biblioburro by Monica Brown, art by John Parra
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Middle Grades (Grades 6-8)

  • Bravo! Poems about Amazing Hispanics by Margarita Engle, illustrated by Raphael Lopez
  • Charlie Hernandez and the League of Shadows by Ryan Calejo
  • The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora by Pablo Cartaya
  • The First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Perez
  • Forest World by Margarita Engle
  • Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson
  • Jabberwalking by Juan Felipe Herrera
  • Lucky Broken Girl by Ruth Behar
  • Marcus Vega Doesn’t Speak Spanish by Pablo Cartaya
  • My Brigadista Year by Katherine Paterson
  • My Family Divided: One Girl’s Journey of Home, Loss, and Hope by Diana Guerrero and Erica Moroz
  • Stef Soto, Taco Queen by Jennifer Torres
  • Tight by Torrey Maldonado
  • When I was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago
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High School Grades (Grades 9-12)

  • Analee, in Real Life by Janelle Milanes
  • Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz
  • Barely Missing Everything by Matt Mendez
  • Corazon by Yesika Salgado
  • Fruit of the Drunken Tree by Ingrid Rojas Contreras
  • The Go-Betweens by Veronica Chambers
  • House on Mango Street by Sandra Cinceros
  • I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez
  • Make Your Home Among Strangers by Jennine Capó Crucet
  • My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor
  • The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
  • Stubborn Archivist by Yara Rodrigues Fowler
  • An Uninterrupted View of the Sky by Melanie Crowder
  • We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia
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Celebrating Hispanic Heritage - abuela seated in blue surrounded by family
Hispanic Heritage month decorative

Tomás y la Señora de la Biblioteca on Open Mind Storytime

por Pat Mora, ilustraciones de Raul Colón, publicado por Knopf Books for Young Readers,
narrador Dr. Luis Soria, Kelly School Principal

Chato’s Kitchen

narrador Dr. Luis Soria, Kelly School Principal
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