“Viva Mexico, Viva la Independencia!” were the exact words of Miguel Hidalgo, Mexican Roman Catholic priest and leader of the Mexican War of Independence on September 16, 1810. This event, known as ‘El Grito de la Independencia’ (Cry of Independence), is celebrated annually. To be part of the celebration, Hidalgo Park Elementary hosted a Cultural Fair to commemorate September 16th. The fair gave students of different walks of life and upbringing the opportunity to also learn about the Mexican culture. Additionally, it has allowed the rest of the students to reconnect with their culture, background, and ancestors. “We hope the students learn about the culture and make a connection with their parents, ancestors, and this generation. Here, at Hidalgo Park we try to implement an integral education for all our students,” adds Eliana Ochoa, Hidalgo Park Elementary’s Literacy Teacher. The Cultural Fair was initiated with the purpose of supporting the students’ culture because Hidalgo ISD understands and values the importance behind this day and its festivities.
"16 de Septiembre is a great reason to teach and highlight the Mexican Culture. In addition, students tab into their own interest and into the culture so we can incorporate that to the classroom learning. Most importantly, it allows the students to have that foundation if there is none,” acknowledges Hidalgo Park Elementary’s Assistant Principal, Abigail Melendez. Hildago Park Elementary is constantly seeking for ways to inspire, innovate, and teach students reach their full potential with the assistance of a teacher quality. “As educators, we’re always finding creative outlets to educate our students and stay connected with their culture, their roots, and their background by implementing three different learning areas; Bilingual, Biliteracy, and Bicultural,” said Ochoa.
As a Dual-language campus, Park Elementary incorporates the native and secondary language into the classroom by introducing all students to the bilingual education program. This program enables a Spanish/English language learner to become competent in listening, writing, speaking and reading. In addition, students reinforce cognitive abilities. They become more open-minded, better communicators, improves language and vocabulary, opens job opportunities, develops social life and enhances better family dynamics and connections, among many more benefits. At the fair students were given the opportunity to present in both languages; English and Spanish.
Prior, to the Cultural Fair students were encouraged to utilize their community resources such as the public library. Establishing a relationship with literacy is crucial for Hidalgo Park Elementary educators. Underlining the value of a book, will generate the student’s interest in literacy. “One of our main focuses here at Hidalgo Park is literacy. We know that literacy is the foundation of all learning. We emphasize the importance of reading ability because it permits the students to have a better comprehension in all subjects,” explains Melendez.
The Cultural Fair took place in the Hidalgo Park Elementary’s gymnasium where teachers and students were able to set up different themed booths. Prek4-5th graders provided a presentation highlighting the culture, traditions, Mexican dishes, historical figures, luchadores, music, artists, loteria, and actors. The students felt confident enough to present what they had learned in class about the Mexican Culture.
A leader was present in every scholar’s presentation. They were fearless leaders during this exhibition. Students demonstrated great presentational skills through their confidence and composure. Instructional leader and Principal, Mr. Greg Solano’s main purpose is to inspire and motivate every student to find a leader within themselves. “Good leaders inspire. You can be a leader, there is a leader in all of us! Most of all, we want to create a solid platform for students so we can build world-wide leaders,” adds Solano.
Ana Paola Cortez, Pre-K4 student recited the Mexican National Anthem proudly and confidently as her classmate, Gabriel Hernandez stood tall beside her with her right arm on her chest as she introduced Ms. Yadira Rodriguez, Pre-K4 teacher’s presentation.
The primary purpose for the Cultural Fair was to introduce and showcase the significance of 16 de Septiembre and the Mexican Culture. “We hope to contribute to their learning and instill a lot of stories for students to tell and to take with them, and in return ignite interest in these three areas; Bilingual, Bicultural, and Biliteracy so students obtain an integral education, here at Hidalgo Park Elementary,” Melendez concludes.