Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.
Hispanic Heritage Month dates back to 1968. It originated as a week-long celebration under President Lyndon Johnson, known at the time as Hispanic Heritage Week. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan expanded the celebration to a month-long observation, which we officially recognize from September 15 through October 15 every year. During this time, we highlight and honor the contributions of Americans of Mexican, Spanish, Caribbean, and Central and South American descent in all aspects of American life. The mid-September date holds particular significance because it honors the anniversary of independence for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua, while Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence on September 16th and 18th.
Hispanic Heritage Month also celebrates the long and important presence of Hispanic and Latino Americans in North America. A map of late 18th-century North America shows this presence, from the small outpost of San Francisco founded in the desolate wilderness of Alta California in 1776, through the Spanish province of Texas with its vaqueros (cowboys), to the fortress of St. Augustine, Florida — the first continuous European settlement in North America, founded in 1565, forty-two years before the English landed in Jamestown, Virginia.
Here at Winchester Public Schools, we are home to a diverse and multicultural student population. Our Hispanic students make up roughly 40% of our student population and contribute greatly to our rich educational heritage. Our Hispanic teachers and staff, through their hard work and dedication enrich the lives of our students and the culture in our division.
Due to current COVID-related guidelines, events and activities are limited. However, in the coming weeks, we look forward to celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month within these guidelines. We encourage all to take part in the celebrations, endeavor to learn about the many rich Hispanic cultures, promote love and unity, and look for opportunities to incorporate activities highlighting Hispanic culture into your curriculum.
Winchester Public Schools proudly celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month and our students and staff!