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.
Each year, at the commencement of Hispanic Heritage Month, the President of the United States offers a Proclamation highlighting the contributions made to our Nation by our Hispanic brothers and sisters. In 2016, then President Barack Obama in his Proclamation stated, “Hispanic Americans have had a lasting impact on our history and have helped drive hard -- won progress for all our people. They are the writers, singers, and musicians that enrich our arts and humanities; the innovative entrepreneurs steering our economy. They are the scientists and engineers revolutionizing our ways of life and making sweeping new discoveries; the advocates leading the way for social and political change. They are the brave men and women in uniform who commit themselves to defending our most cherished ideals at home and abroad. And their lasting achievements and devotion to our Nation exemplify the tenacity and perseverance embedded in our national character.” This year’s Presidential Proclamation echoed similar words in stating, “...the accomplishments of Hispanic Americans, who have enriched our culture and society and helped make America into the incredible country it is today. Hispanic-American men and women embody the American values of devotion to faith and family, hard work, and patriotism through their countless contributions as leaders, innovators, entrepreneurs, and members of our Armed Forces.
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.
In the coming weeks, each school has plans to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. 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.
Lastly, Winchester Public Schools will be hosting a community-wide event celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month on Saturday, October 19, 2019 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Daniel Morgan Campus. This event is free to the public. Our celebration will include: food vendors, live music, cultural activities, dance and more. We hope that all can attend to support our students and their families.
Winchester Public Schools proudly celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month and our students and staff!