The cafeteria at Ware Elementary School in Longview ISD was filled with students and staff excited to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.
Some students were dressed in traditional outfits to showcase their culture, while others were just happy to watch the performances and learn about Hispanic heritage on Monday morning.
Attendees and students cheered to the rhythm of performances representing places such as Chiapas, Veracruz, Jalisco and Mexico.
Alex Palencia, co-director of Ballet Folklorico de Mexico 2000, taught students “el grito,” which means a traditional shout in Spanish, and informed students about the different dances that Hispanic cultures have to offer.
Francisco Rojas, spokesperson for Longview ISD, also participated in the program and addressed the parents in attendance by introducing the program and interacting with the students and family in Spanish and English.
Hugo Robles, 10, took the oath of allegiance in Spanish. Hugo said his parents were from Mexico, and although he had never been there, the program made him feel like he was in Mexico.
Watching the dances made him proud of being Mexican and of his culture, he said.
“I’m very proud of my culture because I’m proud of what Mexicans have done and the traditions they’ve created here, I’m proud of that,” Hugo said.
Mexico 2000 Ballet Folklorico is a Dallas-based dance group and part of the Young Audiences of North Texas nonprofit organization that works with school districts in East Texas, according to Palencia.
Palencia said dance performances are part of the celebrations and part of how traditions are remembered during festive holidays like during Hispanic Heritage Month. He said the main goal is to demonstrate to students the importance of traditions no matter where you are from.
“…it is important for students to be aware. Sometimes we are away from countries, as we say in these presentations, these traditions are not just for Mexico,” he said. “We invite students to discover their own traditions, including dances, music, food, history and decorations.
“Even though they see Mexican traditions, they learn that their traditions are also important.”
According to Faith Greer, principal of Ware Elementary, this is the first year that the school has invited an artist such as Mexico 2000 to present Hispanic traditions and culture. Prior to this event, the campus held presentations at the school, she said.
Greer said the bilingual campus team came up with the idea and wanted to make sure this year’s performance was inclusive.
She said that as soon as she heard the pitch, she was on board and excited to bring the dance group for the student body.
“As director of the building, my No. 1 goal is to make sure we have global citizenship and celebrate our uniqueness and diversity,” she said.
The impact of the event on students and parents brought her joy, she said.
“It warmed my heart, I’m just ecstatic and humbled to be the leader of a group of young learners who really want to embrace who they are but what they contribute to society,” she said. declared.
Greer mentioned that with the performance, she hopes the students will take away the importance of diversity and be proud of who they are.
“I want them to know that our diversity makes us unique and to embrace who you are because you represent a culture that has made contributions to society. I want them to be proud of who they are and what they can give,” she said.