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Fort Myers Christian celebrates Hispanic Heritage month

By Staff | Oct 6, 2010

Fort Myers Christian School seventh grade students enjoyed eating Latin food, listening and playing music, dancing and learning about Hispanic Heritage month during class Wednesday afternoon.
Fort Myers Christian School Spanish language teacher Aileen Gonzales began the tradition of celebrating Hispanic Heritage month for her students in kindergarten through eighth grade every year to teach them about Spanish-speaking countries, their cultures and upbringing.
The children had an opportunity to enjoy sights, sounds, tastes and cultures. The students also learned about famous Hispanic artists, astronauts, athletes, actors, law, singers, politicians and scientists.
The younger students paraded around the school Wednesday morning with their sombrero hats and instruments.
“I get paid to do something I love,” she said about her teaching career of 17 years. She said how could she not enjoy her job — her students thank her for teaching them Spanish all the time.
Fran McCartin, an aunt of one of the students decided to help out during the festivities Wednesday.
“This is exciting,” she said about her first time experience. “It is important for them to enjoy the month and learn about the culture.”
Sarah Swiersz said the month-long celebration teaches them a lot about Spanish cultures and how five of the 21 Spanish speaking countries have their independence.
“No one knew about that before,” she said of the number of Spanish-language countries.
Joshua Harriott said the celebration helps him with his Spanish and understanding of the cultures.
“I like how people dedicated this celebration for the whole month,” he said. “The celebration is about them getting their independence.”
Kayla Lindsey said she enjoys the dancing and food the most during the celebration. She said she especially enjoys eating rice and beans that Gonzales makes every year, along with doing the salsa and sombrero hat dance.
“It is so satisfying to see them understand,” Gonzales said. “It is so important to expose them to learning Spanish. It is such a colorful, flavorful language.”
Gonzales also teaches at Christ Lutheran School in Cape Coral where she celebrates Hispanic Heritage month with her students.
National Hispanic Heritage Month is a celebration from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. President Lyndon Johnson began the celebration and observation of Hispanic Week in 1968. On Aug. 17, 1988, President Ronald Reagan expanded the celebration to cover 30 days.
The significance of the celebration begging on Sept. 15 is because it is the anniversary of independence for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.