Rome High School organized a door decorating contest to mark National Hispanic Heritage Month, with each class competing to educate the others about the Hispanic culture in a colorful and creative way.

Assistant Principal Joey Connell said he could not be more pleased with the displays, which point up how the culture is woven into the world we share. Connell also worked with teachers to organize other initiatives.

“We came up with a lot of ideas, like showing Hispanic videos during our Wolf Pack session and having one of our teachers talk with our students about her path to citizenship,” he said. “We wanted all our students to understand that process and the benefits that come along with being a citizen. She was so excited to speak with them about now being able to vote. That was such a wonderful thing to see happen in our school.”

Educators also took advantage of the diverse student population to get some of them to share their insights. The students were asked to submit thoughts on their culture that they wanted more people to know about. What they found, Connell said, was a basis for common ground.

Gael Garcia: The Hispanic culture, when you are raised in it, is an incredibly beautiful culture. You learn to appreciate a lot of things in life and the holidays are really good, too. Our family parties are the best times you will ever have. Depending on how the family is feeling, there is always a lot of joking around. Sometimes the entire family goes outside to play soccer and it is ju♦ st a really great time.

♦ Reed Castrejon: Throughout my entire life, the one thing that has been preached to me is the importance of family. Most of my family lives in California and we visit them every year. One thing my mother always told me was that when she was little, traveling was a privilege. It is expensive to travel across the country, and she was not able to see her family a lot. So, the importance of family is one thing that really stands out about the Hispanic culture. The other things are hard work, loving others and treating others with respect. At the end of the day, family tops the list because no matter how much hard work you have done, family is always there.

♦ Odalis Calderon: It is interesting how different people who have different cultures can join together as one. The festivals and colors that represent our Hispanic culture are awesome, and the food is also very good. I come from a small place that is full of energy and color. I feel like everyone should be able to experience it and speak about their own cultures. When sharing your heritage, you should never be afraid about what others may say. We have that here a♦ t Rome High School.”

Ashley Marin: Hispanic culture is always a great thing to learn about. When I think about the different ways we celebrate our culture, it is nice to see how everyone comes together as a community here at Rome High. What you look like and the color of your skin does not matter here. We all feel the same. What I have found is that we are more alike than we are different, so the Hispanic culture lives in the American experience. We love our family, and we want the best for them, which I think is a part of every person’s culture.

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