The Holyoke school community is participating in a month-long celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs through October 15. As part of that celebration, Superintendent Anthony Soto shared an inspiring video message with students, families, and HPS staff.
“By celebrating our heritage, we are living out two important equity commitments,” Superintendent Soto said. “We respect, embrace, and honor the diversity of our students, families, staff, and community. And we intentionally build a community that is anti-racist, inclusive, and culturally responsive.”
Each school is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month in their own ways. For example, Morgan School kicked off Hispanic Heritage Month on September 15 with read-aloud programs presented by school leaders reading related stories to fifth-grade students, and fifth-graders reading stories to students at other grade levels. Morgan teachers will also decorate bulletin boards featuring notable people of Hispanic heritage. “Did You Know?” slide shows have been shared with students, featuring important historical and biographical information.
At Sullivan School, a “Whole School Spirit Week” has been planned, along with a celebration of Hispanic heritage during the school’s open house from 5-7 p.m. on Wednesday, September 27. At HHS Dean Campus and STEM Academy, each morning at arrival time students are hearing music from each of 21 Hispanic countries. Plans also include sharing informative history, poetry, quotes and more via schoolwide announcements over the intercom. At McMahon School, art teacher Emma Pascarella is showcasing artists of Hispanic or Latinx heritage at the beginning of each lesson during the month. “We'll focus on the self-portraits of the artists and begin to develop a way to identify and include our own heritage, or styles inspired by the artists, in our own self-portraits,” she said. “I plan on using a few key texts as well, including ‘Alma and How She Got Her Name’ by Juana Martinez Neal and ‘If Dominican Were a Color’ by Sili Recio.”
Holyoke is a multicultural city with 81 percent of our students and more than half of our city’s residents identifying as Latino or Latina, so this recognition is especially important here. Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the diverse contributions and experiences of American citizens whose roots come from Puerto Rico and throughout the Caribbean, Mexico, Central and South America, and Spain.
(Video in English, below)
(Video in Spanish, below)