At The New Century School, Hispanic Heritage Month, September 15th through October 15th, is a big deal. This year, it took on even greater significance with now-veteran Profesor Manuel Caceres leading the charge. Although this month was honored at TNCS in many ways in the day-to-day classroom, two very special events bear specific mention here.
Las Hermosas Puertas
The first exciting event to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month was a door-decorating contest in which each homeroom was challenged to represent a Hispanic country. Doors (and/or walls) were judged according to creativity, accuracy (e.g., of geographical information), and degree of student participation. Winners (listed farther below so you can view the doors objectively first) were chosen in each division, but it’s clear that everyone did a fantastic job and really embraced the spirit of this fun, educational contest. (Winners get bragging rights until TNCS’s second annual Hispanic Heritage Night occurs next year.)
- First place: Srà Salas’s Chile-inspired door
- Second place: Srà Da Costa’s Panamanian wall
- Third place: Lin Laoshi’s representation of Columbia (with a touch of China thrown in)
- First place: Mrs. Hackshaw’s Venezuela
- Second place: Ms. Mosby’s Dominican Republic
- Third place: Mrs. Lawson’s Guatemala
Lower Elementary Awards (K–2nd Grade)
First place: Mrs. Duprau’s Costa Rica
Second place: Sr. Caceres’s El Salvador
Third place: Ms. Stasch’s Peru
Upper Elementary Awards (2nd–6th Grades)
- First place: Srà Cabrera’s Spain
- Second place: Mr. McGonigal’s Mexico
Where possible, teachers chose countries to represent that were meaningful to them in some way, such as being a native of that country in many cases. They all did beautiful work, and the judges deliberated long and hard before making the final calls. Note to TNCS teaching staff: The bar is set very high for next year!
Inaugural Hispanic Heritage Night: What a Fiesta!
In what promises to be an annual happening, elementary and middle school families gathered in the TNCS auditorium on Wednesday evening to enjoy a performance of traditional Hispanic songs and dancing. Thanks in large part to Profesor Manuel and the other elementary teachers’ monumental efforts as well as the support of the entire TNCS community including founders, administration, staff, and families, this multicultural event was the hands-down highlight of the 2016–2017 school year so far.
Just see the obvious enjoyment of TNCS K–6th-graders as they take the stage.
First up, “On My Way to School” was presented by K/1st-grade students.
A medley of “Good Morning,” “My Numbers 1–10,” “My Alphabet,” and “Itsy-Bitsy Spider,” was also presented by K/1st-grade students.
“Lovely Sky,” was then presented by 2nd- through 6th-grade students.
The 1st- and 2nd-grade students next gave us a “Spanish Lullaby.”
Finally, “America,” was sung by 2nd- through 6th-grade students.
After the performance, families enjoyed a Hispanic-themed potluck set to merengue music, and, as always, the TNCS community really delivered: Salsa, guacamole, taquitos, tacos, empanadas, pastel del elote, plantains, and much, much more made up this memorable banquet.
TNCS parent Catalina Dansberger Duque eloquently captured the spirit of the evening in a thank-you email to the staff and administration, excerpts from which are quoted here with her permission. “Latino culture is so much more than the words, the food, or the music; it is rooted in family and love, and that is what we were surrounded by last night. A new family,” she said. She also described talking to other TNCS parents who also “felt the magic of the evening,” some seeing their own culture and traditions being passed down in songs, dance, clothing, and cuisine; others happily participating in what are now going to become annual TNCS traditions.
For me and so many of the Spanish parents, having a bridge between worlds that can sometimes be really far apart makes life that much sweeter. School then becomes part of that world and more meaningful rather than something disconnected. The value is immeasurable. Thank you Porfessor Manuel for your vision, hard work, and heart. Thank you all for truly celebrating, sharing, and reflecting the thing that makes all of us stronger—DIVERSITY!