Submitted by Rene Carroll
¡Viva la Independencia! National Hispanic and Latinx Heritage Month is observed in the US from September 15 to October 15, to celebrate the histories, cultures and contributions of Hispanic and Latinx peoples from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central America and South America.
The new Washougal School District Dual Language Kindergarten classrooms of Kelly Borquist and Veronica Paredes celebrated on September 15 by creating their own flags of Costa Rica and Mexico. “Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month gives students the opportunity to learn about and appreciate the history and countless contributions that people from Latin American nations have made,” explained Borquist.
Students also viewed short, animated videos about the independence won in these countries, they danced and twirled in a traditional “gola” (skirt) and took part in their own Independence Torch Pass. The Torch Pass commemorates runners spreading the news of independence in 1821, from Guatemala through Central American countries, ending in Costa Rica.
WSD began its Dual Language Kindergarten at the start of the 2021-22 school year. The program filled quickly with eager students. “Children are most receptive to learning a new language at a young age and doing so helps them gain confidence, problem-solving, and critical-thinking skills,” said Borquist. “Learning another language will provide students with greater college and career opportunities in a rapidly diversifying world.”
September 15 is Independence Day for the Latin American countries of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico celebrates their Independence Day on September 16, Chile on September 18 and Belize on September 21.