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LION’s K-12 Hispanic Heritage Celebrations

Our community celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month by having three unique experiences, one per division. These celebrations brought joy to our community and recognized the important contributions of Hispanic/Latinx/e individuals in our world.  Additionally, they allowed us to highlight the diversity in our own school community. Below three staff members, Dani Nicolosi, Christine Davis, and Kimberly Rivera, provide their perspectives of these memorable events. 

Elementary School: A Celebration of Dance, Art, and Cuisine

In the Elementary Division, students honored Hispanic heritage in Performing Arts with Ms. Nicolosi and in Art with Ms. Vargas. Students presented their work to family, staff, and their peers on October 26th. Before the student dance performances, guests from Ballet Hispánico treated us to a salsa presentation. Kindergarten students sang in Spanish and English and performed a merengue dance. First grade students shared the origins of bachata and performed bachata dances that they had created. Second grade students shared what they learned about salsa and performed a collaborative salsa production around the auditorium! Parent volunteers helped set up an art gallery in our hallway with piñatas made by our Kindergarteners hanging from the ceiling, Mexican otomi animal art pieces made by first graders, and Frida Kaholo inspired self portraits by second graders. Families were then invited into the classrooms for a read aloud of Where Are You From by Yamile Saied Mendez and enjoyed a delicious potluck of Hispanic dishes provided by members of our school community. 

-Dani Nicolosi, Elementary School Performing Arts Teacher

Middle School: “007 (Siete) Protecting Our Hispanic Heroes”

The purpose of LION Middle School’s Hispanic heritage performance was to highlight and celebrate those of Hispanic culture who have shaped the U.S. in a positive and magnificent way. The names of these people – and the list is long – should be heard and always remembered. The plot of the show centers on protecting the Hispanic Heroes by any means necessary because they hold the keys to the future as our superheroes. If the Evil Villain and her henchmen get their hands on Chemical X, then the fate of Hispanic culture will be doomed. Chemical X is the compound which gives our heroes their superpowers. Sonia Sotomayor needs it in order to be the first Latina to have one of the highest seats in the land to uphold and reform the justice system. Ellen Ochoa needs her superpowers to be the first woman to launch into space and as a result inspire other young Latinas to discover the world beyond them. If it was not for Sylvia Mendez setting the stage for desegregation in schools, where would we be? These superheroes are BRAVE, FIERCE, and UNSTOPPABLE, and they must be protected by 007 and the rest of the agents of HI6 – Hispanic Intelligence Headquarters.

-Christine Davis, Middle School Performing Arts Teacher 

High School: “Celebrating Heritage”

On Thursday, October 12th, LION High School celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month with a student-led multimodal celebration in our Lion’s Den. Before entering, students were given a miniature flag from one of 21 Hispanic countries. Students vibed to “Oye Mi Canto” as they buzzed to their assigned seats. The agenda commenced with an informative video, dress down highlights, and a call & response for countries represented in our community. Before transitioning to breakout rooms, the dance team executed a vibrant performance that encouraged members of the audience to participate. Organized in breakout rooms by Lion Prides, students engaged with Hispanic heritage through various activities including: a maraca making workshop, dominoes and lotería, face painting, music classes, dance classes, and a debate room.

The spectrum of activities in the inaugural celebration incorporated some of the richest aspects of Hispanic heritage. They were curated by the community and executed by student leaders from AP Spanish. To close the event, students were welcomed back to the Lion’s Den at dismissal to enjoy family-made picadera. This community-centered event highlighted the myriad Hispanic heritages that thrive in our community. The day ended with tangible joy, unity, and inspiration of one another’s contribution to the warmth of the community.

-Kimberly Rivera, High School Academic Dean