This month marks Hispanic Heritage Month and sees the efforts of St. Margaret's Upper School leadership group TIDE begin to flourish. TIDE (Tartan Inclusivity and Diversity Education) is comprised of 12 Upper School students from a variety of racial and ethnically diverse backgrounds, ages and genders. The 12 students are all connected through their shared experience at the Student Diversity Leadership Conference, a national conference instituted by the National Association of Independent Schools and runs concurrently with the People of Colour Conference.
This month, in honor of Hispanic Heritage, students have begun to raise the cultural level of awareness by connecting with teachers in the history department and asking for subjects such as the Bracero movement to be incorporated into the curriculum. With the help of History Department Chair James Harris, students have started to look more deeply into the history of the Bracero Program, which tells the stories of Mexican’s who were invited by the United States government to work in the fields - leaving behind a legacy of struggles and success and laying the foundation for many Mexican-American communities in the US.
Led by Stephanie Saavedra, grade 12, TIDE members carefully constructed a visual bulletin board that displays the contributions of a variety of Hispanic icons. This resides in the Upper School outside the administrative offices and is written in both Spanish and English.
Click here for photo gallery.
A Hispanic heritage lunch was held last Friday by the group that attempted to honor as many cultures as possible. Due to the generosity of parents of TIDE students, students themselves and staff members, we provided and ate Guatemalan sweet bread and taquitos, tasted El Salvadorian pupusa, Argentinian empanadas and a tea called Mate, along with Inca cola from Peru. Hot chocolate, rice, beans, guacamole, arroz con leche, tamales and flan were many of the foods offered from Mexico. While faculty and students ate, a variety of music from these countries played in the Upper School courtyard. Students and faculty played games of “loteria” – a kind of bingo that is played in many Hispanic countries, and piñata. On the football field, a mini soccer tournament took place.
While the objective of the group is not to reduce a culture to food, we recognize it plays a part in our differing lived experiences and promotes a sense of pride in our students who do identify with Hispanic cultural backgrounds.
We concluded our recognition and celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month with a screening of the Spanish language film La Misma Luna (Under the Same Moon) last Wednesday evening in the Performing Arts Center.The movie tells the parallel stories of nine-year-old Carlitos and his mother, Rosario. In the hopes of providing a better life for her son, Rosario works illegally in the US while her mother cares for Carlitos back in Mexico. Subtle commentary is offered on the much-debated issue of illegal immigration. The foreign language department graciously offered their students an incentive to attend the film as a way to enrich their experience in studying a language. The film was attended by many Upper School students.
All in all the month seems to have been a great success, as senior Lauren Golledge noted, “I don’t feel like we have ever honored Hispanic Heritage Month before and I think it’s important that we understand how each others’ cultures are different.”