Hispanic Heritage Celebration at Trimmier

Trimmier celebrates culture with music, dance, displays
By: Todd Martin
Understanding cultural heritage is reason to celebrate and opportunity to share.
At Trimmier Elementary School Wednesday, students conducted a pair of Hispanic Heritage assemblies with kindergarten through fifth grade taking turns expressing culture through spoken word, music and dance.
“It’s important because Trimmier is a bilingual school and we are all coming together,” said fourth-grade bilingual teacher Mayda Montero-Bonilla.
“The Hispanic culture has a lot to offer for the community,” she said. “We’re proud of our heritage and of our beautiful school.”
Each grade level studied a Spanish-speaking country and prepared displays for a museum set up in the school library. Students participated in art and craft projects for the display.
Yajaira Velez, communities in schools site coordinator at the school and coordinator for the local Puerto Rican Folklore Dancers taught groups of students to perform dances native to Mexico and Puerto Rico.
“It’s important for kids to know where they come from,” she said. “It gives them a sense of identity, of belonging.”
Born in New York City with roots in Puerto Rico and Ecuador, Velez said she understands the pull of varying cultures.
She has found that in music, dance and other expressions, students get interested in learning their own culture and also in learning from others.
When young people understand their own culture, it builds a sense of belonging that is especially important in later life, she said.
“Students like to learn about other traditions and dances,” said Velez.
Fifth-grader Derenid Silvestre is experienced in Puerto Rican cultural dance and was excited to learn a dance for the school assemblies along with her friends.
“I like the part where we spin around and twirl our dresses,” she said. “I like when I dance – it feels good.”