Hispanic Heritage Celebrations

Patterson and Smith host Hispanic Heritage events
By: Todd Martin

A rich culture of colorful, swirling dresses, savory food and music that makes you move serves as backdrop for a series of celebrations in Killeen schools this month.
Both Patterson Middle School and Smith Middle School hosted Hispanic Heritage Celebration events Thursday.
Though different, the pair of celebrations attracted families and revolved around diverse music and a meal.
Patterson hosted its 11th annual Hispanic heritage event. For Smith, now in its third year, it was the first such celebration.
“It celebrates the diversity of Hispanic cultures,” said Minerva Cotton, academic advisor at Patterson. She said the school’s students and staff have included natives of Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba and Panama.
Community dance groups like Ballet Folclorico Guaili and the Puerto Rican Kids joined Patterson’s band, choir and Saphires dance team. Spanish classes from several years provided historical posters as decoration.
“We do this to give people insight behind the history of the dance, songs and food,” said Patterson eighth-grader Lakatrielle Carter, a choir and National Junior Honor Society member helping to serve food.
Patterson also hosts a Black History Month celebration and a Multi-Cultural Night during the school year.
Smith ESL teacher Julissa Carrion orchestrated her school’s first celebration honoring Hispanic heritage.
It included song and dance with students and staff performing and art work from Spanish and visual art classes.
“We want to honor who we are and we want all to feel welcome,” Carrion said following the performances.
The art work, she said was based on inspiring figures in the Hispanic culture and flags represented 21 countries. Families provided the food.
“This is our first one and I think it came out great,” she said. “Our culture is rich with food, dance, music and art.”
Close-knit families and friends with colorful art and dance and sharing together are common core values among Hispanic countries. “We share. That’s who we are.”