Hispanic Heritage Celebration 2019

Pershing Park Celebrates Hispanic Heritage
By: Todd Martin
In an annual salute to the Hispanic culture, Pershing Park Elementary School welcomed hundreds of families into the school cafeteria for an evening of song and dance and traditional foods.
Cenia Arenas, the school’s parent liaison and mother of a past and a current student at the school said the Hispanic Heritage celebration is a favorite among the parents and students.
“It’s very important because this is a bilingual school,” she said. “It helps the parents because they can come in and get to know us better. It also promotes cultural awareness of other countries.”
Students created artwork representing numerous Spanish-speaking countries and the school’s decorations included famous Americans of Hispanic backgrounds.
Families brought numerous items of traditional food and much attention focused on the stage and several local dance groups featuring children and youth.
Sisters Alyssa and Desiree Gomez, a Killeen High School sophomore and Nolan Middle School eighth-grader respectively sang together and introduced their multi-cultural dance group, Meca TX.”
Getting in front of so many people and dancing is “a little nerve racking,” Alyssa Gomez said, “but it was amazing. It makes them cry because they get emotional.”
The dances can be challenging, but the pair said they love to learn the cultural dances and encouraged anyone interested in trying. “We will teach anyone to dance,” said the older Gomez.
“It’s a way to connect to my culture, to Mexico,” said Desiree Gomez. “It helps us be closer to where we’re from.”
“The parents here are active,” said Arenas. “This is the main event for them. They share their culture, they provide the food that comes from their country. Students do artwork and they get happy to see it on the wall.”
Los Tres Martinez, the Puerto Rican Kids and Guaili de Boriquen all performed and all volunteered their skills.
In the United States, National Hispanic Heritage Month is Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.