PS 346 Joins District 19’s Virtual National Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration

By Amanda Moses

On October 28th, Abe Stark Primary School (PS) 346 joined District 19 in their first ever virtual National Hispanic Heritage Month event, showcasing the children’s knowledge of Latin culture, music, traditions, artwork, poetry, and more.  In light of the pandemic, each school in the district was asked to select a few classes to submit a pre-recorded performance and live research introduction on Hispanic icons.

“P.S. 346 Abe Stark Elementary is a patchwork quilt made up of brilliant and unique cultures. The event highlighted the pride District 19 takes in recognizing and celebrating the beauty of the Hispanic culture, not just in October but all year round. I commend all of the students and teachers who participated in making the virtual celebration a resounding success,” Principal Jabari K. Edwards said.

Several students in PS 346’s kindergarten, third, and fifth grades participated in the virtual event. Social Studies teacher, Ms. Morales and students focused on Hispanic icons, from political leaders to artists. The students’ presentations featured Roberto Clemente and Selena.

All students in the school observed national Hispanic Heritage Month and classroom activities (remote and in person) researched several countries including Mexico, Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico. Some interesting facts the children studied included the fact that Mexico City is the oldest city in North America and instead of receiving gifts on Christmas in Mexico, children receive presents on El Dia de los Reyes (Three Kings Day on January 6th).  They also discovered that the Dominican Republic is the second largest country in the Caribbean, and Puerto Rico is known as La Isla de Encanto (the island of enchantment) because of its rich natural resources, especially gold.

In addition to the artistic virtual exhibit, a student panel discussed the impact of the current climate in the Hispanic community.  Some pupils also took part in a presentation entitled, Family Representation of Culture: Mi Casa, Su Casa, (My House, Your House) while others performed a short, pre-recorded dance to Selena’s “Bidi Bidi Bom Bom.”

“It was an honor to be asked by Mr. Edwards to spearhead this important celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. District 19 did a phenomenal job in putting this event together.  There were so many wonderful performances and a panel of students discussing the current events happening in the world today.  Along with Ms. Morales, we were able to pull this short piece together in a short period of time.  I also want to thank Ms. Coombs, Ms. Julian, Ms. Paolucci, for their help and contributions.  I also want to thank Ms. Forcilus for the wonderful poem she wrote,” said Ms. Elizabeth Sosa Brito, PS 346’s coordinator for the virtual event.

Brito is proud of her Hispanic heritage, and she sought to encourage other students to embrace their culture and always be open to accepting and learning about other countries. “I am an American Dominican.  My parents both immigrated from Dominican Republic and became United States Citizens thereafter.  I do not only celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month once a year.  It is my life, my passion.  Mi Herencia, Mi Hispanidad (My Hispanic Heritage,)” Brito said.

Photos courtesy of PS 346