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Townewest Elementary Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

(FORT BEND ISD) – Fort Bend ISD annually celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month, recognizing the observance as a time to celebrate the many Latin American cultures represented in the district. Schools across FBISD observe the month, giving students the opportunity to learn more about the diverse cultures through history, food, art, music and dress. This year, the district highlighted Townewest Elementary and its celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, which included a student program.

A Houston native, Principal Ericka Edmond is no stranger to diversity and seizes every chance to expose her students to new cultures and ethnicities. Hispanic Heritage Month is no different.


“We want to expose them to as much as possible, including the cultures represented in our school,” Edmond said. “We do everything with energy here at Townewest and Hispanic Heritage Month is no different.”


On a recent visit, students were dressed in their cultural attire or as their favorite Latin American trailblazer or character. One was dressed as former astronaut Franklin Chang-Diaz, a Costa Rican-American astronaut who was part of the team that assembled the International Space Station, and another is dressed as Mirabel Madrigal, the lead protagonist from Disney’s Encanto.


A majority of the students at Townewest Elementary are of Latin American descent, and the school has a robust bilingual education program and team, including bilingual specialist Amal Shibley. Like the students, Shibley dressed up as U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latin American to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.


Jaishubha Rao, a first-grade teacher at Townewest, sees the benefits in observing the month even for the youngest of students. She uses this and other periods of cultural observance to instill respect into her students.


“I love celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month in our school because it exposes our students to diverse cultures and helps them see the different contributions of individuals in history, Roa said. “We talk about it as a class and everyone can connect. This makes us a strong community.”

Students were quick to answer what they love about the month – sharing their cultures with their classmates, learning new things about others, and enjoying the traditional food and customs with family and friends. Emily, a fifth grader at Townewest, said that Hispanic Heritage Month is also about honoring the rich multitude of cultures within the Latin American community.


“It’s important to celebrate because you can see a lot of different people but they’re not all from the same place. Like for example, people who are Hispanic, some may be from Mexico or like me, I’m from El Salvador. We’re not all the same,” she said.


Following the end of Hispanic Heritage Month, the Sugar Land Heritage Foundation will feature a Dia de los Muertos exhibit and festival, featuring FBISD students, and the community is invited to attend. Visit www.slheritage.org to learn more.




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