ST. GABRIEL - An educational showcase of the Hispanic culture and heritage was presented to students, faculty, and community members by the MSA-East Academy during an all day event on October 14. The program was entitled "Hispanics: Serving and Leading our Nation with Pride and Honor." The event is organized by Spanish teacher Sara O'Neal and the Spanish I and Spanish II students at MSA-East Academy.
Its goal is to create an interest in the importance of learning and knowing other languages and to demonstrate how the knowledge enables one to see the world in a different way, says O'Neal, who has presented the celebration for three years.
More than 150 students participated in the celebration, which included displays, presentations, songs, dance contests, food tastings, and costumes of authentic traditional dress from Hispanics countries. The special guest at the event was Mrs. Amparo Calvo, educational advisor from the Embassy of Spain. She discussed the Spanish heritage, culture, and language. Many of the students did presentations on famous individuals from various Spanish cultures, political leaders, and foods of the regions.
A highlight of the morning presentation was the Salsa dance by Ritmo Latino Don Jorge Echevarria. Also, the elementary school students enjoyed Pinatas.
The Hispanic Heritage celebration is usually celebrated from September 15 through October 15, when people recognize the contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans to the United States and celebrate the group's heritage and culture.
Heritage Week was approved by President Lyndon Johnson and the length of it was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30 day period. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1980.
This year, the students extended a special thanks to Ritmo Latino, Hispanic Community of Baton Rouge, Hispanic Restaurants and stores, Coca-Cola Company, Spanish Embassy-Education Advisor, and Baton Rouge Center for World Affairs, Inc.
O'Neal and students also displayed handmade dresses, purses, and other unique colorful items of the Hispanic cultures. Ten students wore traditional dress from the various Hispanic countries.