Celebrating Our Culture

Recognizing National Hispanic Heritage Month


Photo: Nancy Pelosi

National Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated Sept. 15-Oct. 15. Students of St. George’s are encouraging the celebration of hispanic culture.

“Did you know that for most Hispanic countries, you don’t get just Good Friday off? You get the whole week off,” Junior Luis Lopez said. “In Guatemala, the school year starts in January and ends in October because in November is the fair, and the fair isn’t like the Delta Fair here. It’s a big fair. Everybody from everywhere goes to the fair.”

National Hispanic Heritage Month lasts from Sept. 15 through Oct.15, and it is a whole month dedicated to recognizing the cultures, heritage and history of all Spanish-speaking countries. Lopez celebrates this month to celebrate his culture. 

“The importance is just being able to see myself represented, especially here in the deep South,” Lopez said. “I haven’t really seen a lot of representation in myself.”

Junior Kirsten Thomas agrees with Lopez and has taken on the initiative to highlight heritage months throughout the year. She reserved a bulletin board outside of Upper School English teacher Mr. Zach Adcock’s classroom in the summer to celebrate and showcase different cultures and their respective heritage months throughout the year. 

“I just want people to be more aware of different cultures in the world,” Thomas said. “Our world isn’t only around Memphis and the culture that you directly relate to. The world is global. It’s bigger than just Memphis.”

Thomas began the project before the start of this school year, but in light of recent events, she feels that the bulletin board holds greater significance.

“It is really important that we enforce that [awareness],” Thomas said, “just so that you don’t have a biased perspective on a culture, that you’re able to see the great accomplishments of a culture.”

Lopez wishes that everyone would make an effort to learn more about Hispanic culture during this time, just as he does for other culture’s heritage months.

“Whenever there’s other heritage months, like Asian Heritage Month, American Heritage Month, Black History Month, stuff like that, I try to learn more about their cultures,” Lopez said. “I think that’s the importance: just learning to recognize and respect and educate yourself a little bit on my culture.”

Lopez encourages people to learn more about people who he finds as an inspiration in the Hispanic culture, especially during National Hispanic Heritage Month.

“Justice Sotomayor was the first Supreme Court Justice of Hispanic descent,” Lopez said. “Selena [Quintanilla] was the first person in Texas history to get a date named after her after she was shot and died.”

Lopez also wants to highlight the fact that National Hispanic Heritage Month does not just celebrate Mexican culture or just Central American culture but is the celebration of all Spanish-speaking countries. Junior Luis Higareda said he wants people to recognize all the Spanish-speaking countries. 

“Not only Mexicans speak Spanish,” Higareda said. “There’s other Spanish-speaking countries. I feel like people, when they think of Spanish, they immediately think of Mexicans. Mexico is right under the United States, so it does kind of make sense why they would think that, but there’s other countries that you can look into that are Spanish-speaking.”

Because Hispanic students are a minority at St. George’s, Lopez hopes that Hispanic Heritage Month will get the recognition he feels it deserves.

“There aren’t a lot of us here,” Lopez said. “Knowing one or two [historical Hispanic leaders] is satisfying to me because you’re at least taking the time out of your day to recognize that my culture is something.”