National Hispanic and Latinx Heritage Month
- Culture Appreciation
September 15 marks the start of National Hispanic and Latinx Heritage Month, a time our district and schools recognize the contributions, achievements, histories, and celebrate the many diverse cultures of people of Hispanic or Latinx ancestry who come from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.
National Hispanic and Latinx Heritage Month is observed September 15 through October 15. The observation began in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988. The theme for 2023 is Latinos: Driving Prosperity, Power, and Progress in America.
Did you know that scholars that identify as Hispanic/Latinx make up 33.4%* of our total scholar demographic? According to the 2022 US Census, Hispanic and Latinx Americans represent 16.9% of our Federal Way Community.
In Federal Way Public Schools, we want our schools to be a mirror of our community – a place where every scholar has a sense of belonging and can be seen, valued, and heard. Our scholars benefit from learning about and celebrating all cultures.
Celebrate Hispanic and Latinx Heritage Month with FWPS and help us share how our schools are recognizing Hispanic and Latinx heritage with academics, art projects, school clubs and celebrations, and more. Be sure to tag @FWPS210 or email photos to firstname.lastname@example.org.
View additional recognitions in the FWPS Cultural & Religious Calendar here: www.fwps.org/culturalcalendar
FWHS Showcases Hispanic and Latinx Authors and Figures for National Hispanic and Latinx Heritage Month
It’s National Hispanic and Latinx Heritage Month! Many schools in our district are celebrating by creating recommended booklists and displays in their libraries. At Federal Way High School, students can find recommended books alongside images of legendary Hispanic figures to honor their legacies and contributions to our nation.
This year, we celebrate labor and civil rights leaders Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, who fought for farmworker rights and advocated for labor laws reforms; as well as multiple Grammy award winner Celia Cruz from Cuba, who, according to NPR, “brought Afro-Cuban music to the world stage;” or 15-time MLB All-Star and first Latino to be inducted to the Hall of Fame Roberto Clemente, who also built an impeccable legacy off the field as a strong advocate for “equitable treatment of Latin baseball players” and had an immense passion for helping the underprivileged and marginalized” community; or poet, journalist, and editor Julia de Burgos, also from Puerto Rico, whose main literary themes centered around feminism, social justice, blackness, and migration, and who worked tirelessly to eradicate injustice; among many others.
These individuals are just a few examples of the countless Hispanic and Latinx figures who have made an impact to our country.
Students at Federal Way High School are excited about this celebration. Junior Aylin shared, "I think it's good for people to know about the Hispanic culture and where our stories and our ancestors come from."
Senior Yahya added, "I love cultural celebrations. The fact that this is celebrating heritage, it brings up people who are of that heritage, and those of us outside of that culture, to learn about them. This is a very diverse school and there are a lot of teachers and students who would appreciate this. It's good to see this going on, hopefully [it will continue] after I graduate."
Federal Way High School staff are committed to our goal for scholars to see themselves reflected in their school and learning. Showcasing these books celebrates our diversity and promotes inclusion. Swing by the FWHS library to read up and appreciate the rich history and culture of Hispanic and Latinx communities. Happy National Hispanic and Latinx Heritage Month!
National Hispanic and Latinx Heritage Month is a time to celebrate and honor the contributions of Hispanic and Latinx individuals. Across the district, schools are incorporating Hispanic-themed lessons into their teachings, and Internet Academy is no exception. Students of all grade levels are engaging in daily lessons that include virtual museum tours, reading books by Latinx authors, history, cultural and geography lessons, and much more.
(2022) Finding Pictures: Latina/Latino Graphic Art & Artists. [Video] Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/webcast-10476/.
In Ms. McLauchlin's Kindergarten class, scholars are learning about Latin American countries and influential Hispanic figures in our nation. Ms. McLauchlin has also been reading books by Hispanic authors such as Meg Medina, Junot Diaz, and Juana Martinez-Neal to her students.
CTE Teacher, Ms. Hamilton has been incorporating information about Latinx graphic art and artists in her Art Appreciation, Graphic Design, and Visual Communications classes. In addition, Ms. Hamilton created a virtual sharing board for students and families to share their Hispanic heritage, including images, recipes, stories, and more.
Throughout the month, Ms. Hamilton's class will be engaging in an activity where they research and analyze the work of five artists of the Mexican Revolution, create artwork using contemporary events and the style of one of the artists studied, and find connections between how the artists were influenced by Mexico's history, political figures, and original artwork.
Math and Korean teacher Dongsun Ball is highlighting the work and contributions of Latino mathematicians, including Bolivian Jaime Escalante, Mexican American Ruth Gonzalez, and Argentinian Alberto Pedro Calderón.
Smithsonian National Museum of American Latino: Making History Together
Meanwhile, English teacher, Ms. Anderson has been taking students on virtual museum tours to learn more about Hispanic history and culture, including the Smithsonian Latino Virtual Museum, Museum of Latin American Art, Google Arts & Culture Latino Cultures in the US, and the Frida Kahlo Museum.
The Museum of Latin American Art (MOLAA)
Frida Kahlo Museum
It's wonderful to see how our schools celebrate the rich history and contributions of Hispanic and Latinx individuals in various subjects and grade levels.
Schools throughout our district are taking part in the celebration of National Hispanic and Latinx Heritage Month. At Sunnycrest Elementary, their multicultural committee developed learning opportunities to encourage scholars to learn about diverse cultures through a variety of ongoing activities that take place throughout the entire month.
To promote learning and awareness, each class at Sunnycrest Elementary selects a Spanish-speaking country to research and create posters about. The posters are displayed throughout the hallways, allowing students to learn from each other as they walk about the school. These activities also tie in with the Identity Unit, where students create colorful self-portraits and mini biographies.
"The more we can show [our scholars] that learning about people, places, cultures backgrounds reduce the fear of the unknown, we are able to bring people of different backgrounds together in a way that celebrates and highlights what we also have in common while acknowledging and appreciating our uniqueness” remarked principal Kelley Schottle.
Sunnycrest is a language learning school, and between their Dual Language Spanish program and the number of families who speak another language besides English at home, the time in the building is centered around celebrating and growing their language abilities! Sunnycrest will be celebrating a Family Reading Night event, where all the research and art created throughout Hispanic and Latinx Heritage Month will be on display. This event provides families and scholars with an opportunity to learn about reading strategies while also seeing the classroom learning that’s displayed in the hallways and classrooms.
In addition to these activities, Sunnycrest librarians have put together a display showcasing books in Spanish or written by Latinx authors. This display provides scholars with an opportunity to further explore the culture and learn from diverse voices.
Eduardo pointing to his self-portrait he made as part of the school’s Identity Unit.
Overall, the ongoing celebrations and engaging activities highlighting the importance of National Hispanic and Latinx Heritage Month is a great way to bring together our Federal Way community and appreciate the vast diverse cultures within it.
Over in Mrs. Ramirez’s art class at Kilo Middle School, students are getting ready for Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebration. Seventh-grade scholar, Daniel, expressed how important it is to celebrate family members who have passed away. The students are creating paper flowers and ceramic skulls for the festivity, which is widely celebrated by Mexicans and other Latin American cultures on November 2nd.
The school will be displaying scholars’ artwork in celebration of the Hispanic and Latinx Heritage Month. At Kilo, where there is a high population of Hispanic scholars, students are working on culture building and celebrating their heritage.
Mrs. Ramirez wants her students to feel welcomed and seen. She believes that cultural appreciation activities teach us about our heritage and where we come from. Celebrating Hispanic and Latinx heritage is a great opportunity to share the color and tradition among the Kilo community.
Apart from the artwork display, the Art Club and visual arts classes will be creating a photo prop with the paper flowers. Scholars will be able to take photos during lunch, and the same photo prop will be used at the Multicultural Night next month.
FWPS is committed to helping scholars see themselves in their learning and feel a sense of belonging in our buildings. Thank you to Kilo Middle School for leading the way!
Schools throughout our district have been honoring National Hispanic and Latinx Heritage Month with various educational activities, booklists, and events to showcase the cultural richness and contributions made by Hispanics in our nation.
The Hispanic heritage world is vast and diverse, and its culture is a blend of native and non-native influences. Multiple civilizations have thrived and endured throughout the continent, and their contributions to our contemporary foods and cultures that are sometimes unnoticed.
Silver Lake Elementary celebrated with an assembly for all grade levels, where students enjoyed a performance by the dance and cultural group Tlalokan and learned about the culture of Nahuatl-speaking people native to Mexico and Central America.
Tlalokan (place of Tlaloc, god of rain and earth fertility) is dedicated to teaching and revitalizing Anáhuac (the heartland of Aztec Mexico) culture through dance and music with traditional instruments. The type of dance they perform is commonly known as “Danza Azteca-Chichimeca,” or Aztec Dance, paying homage to the Aztecs or Mexicas (Meh-she-kahs).
Scholars were taught some Nahuatl words, such as “Ma cualli tonalli” (have a nice day), as well as other words that are now part of the English vocabulary, such as Xocolatl (chocolate), Coyotl (coyote), and Xitomatl (tomato). They also learned a few dance steps and salutations to the four directions to express gratitude to the four elements and to know where one is standing and where we are going.
Victor Ramirez, a member of Tlalokan, shared that the importance of sharing their culture is so that kids of Latin descent can learn about their identity, the importance of where they come from, and the cultural richness of their grandparents, fathers, and mothers. He emphasized the significance of starting to teach children about their culture from an early age, hoping that they will start researching and asking questions about their heritage.
Tlalokan's cultural project is not exclusively for Hispanic or Latinx people; “Our cultural project goes beyond that. Dance and music, the sound of the drums, the teponaztli (type of slit drum), and the coyoleras (Aztec jingles), move the hearts of everyone. Music is universal, it connects our heart with the earth,” shared Mr. Ramirez.
FWPS is proud to continue celebrating the rich diversity among our student and staff bodies and will continue to observe these wonderful appreciation months!
Latinx Club Assemblies at Federal Way High School
Schools in our district celebrated Hispanic and Latinx Heritage Month from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 by conducting Hispanic-themed lessons, creating library displays and recommended booklists, and organizing assemblies with guests brought in by schools’ Latinx clubs and staff members.
At Federal Way High School, the Latinx Club, with the assistance of teacher Ms. Ashe, arranged their annual Hispanic-themed assemblies in the school's theater open to all. Students attended the assembly during their social studies classes and watched videos showcasing the diversity among the Hispanic culture in our nation. Scholars also enjoyed live dance performances by scholars, spoken word and trumpet performance by teacher Mr. Guzman, and the presence of Washington State Representative Kristine Reeves.
Rep. Reeves spoke to students from her own personal experience, talked about state and national politics, and inspired scholars to become involved in politics, and embrace their culture and work hard to achieve their dreams.
She engaged in a short conversation with students in a Q&A session that followed.
Rep. Reeves shared, "As an Afro-Latina myself, as somebody elected to serve our community, I was super honored to have student leaders say, 'Come talk to us, share a little bit more,’ and quite frankly, I'm really excited to hear from them."
She highlighted the importance of cultural appreciation and stated that it is essential for Latinx communities to understand that their heritage is important and that they need to see themselves represented in all places, not just in education but also in public policy.
For Latinx Club member, senior Leslie Ochoa, these assemblies can showcase "what we are, and what we do as a community." The Latinx Club meets every Tuesday to organize events, fundraisers, and field trips, such as one to the University of Washington for students of color to pursue higher education.