By OLIVIA GYGER
Students of Manteca High kicked off their month-long celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month on Friday, Sept. 15.
Manteca High school counselor and advisor of the Hispanic Youth Leadership Committee (HYLC) Rocio Carrillo’s bright ideas helped bring the celebration to life.
“This celebration allows students to share their culture and traditions with one another deepening our connections with not only ourselves, but those around us from varying cultures,” said Christian Avila, the president of HYLC.
Throughout all of September, students will have the opportunity to be involved in events that are tied to Hispanic culture.
“Our student body is changing so our traditions also need to change and be modified and become more inclusive to our staff and students,” Carrillo said.
Manteca High prides itself on its rich traditions, campus culture, and diversity. Diversity is a fundamental part of any school campus, and with this celebration Manteca High gets the opportunity to embrace its Hispanic students, faculty, and staff.
“Considering MHS has a student population that is comprised of roughly 60 percent Hispanic students, allowing these traditions to take place ensure that these large populations are acknowledged, represented, and embraced,” Avila said.
The Tower sat down with Rocio Carrillo to discuss the significance of Hispanic Heritage Month:
The Tower: How long ago did the tradition of Hispanic Heritage month begin?
Rocio Carrillo: This is our first year. This is my first year as the HYLC advisor and this is our first year kicking it off and trying it out.
TT: What role did you play in making the events come to life?
RC: I am a counselor here at Manteca High, so one of the things I’ve seen is that our Latino community is getting very diverse. Primarily, we used to have a majority of Mexican students. Now just being a counselor, I’ve seen a lot more people from all parts of America, so like we’ve had a lot of students from Central America and South America. So with that, I was trying to kind of think of a holiday type of deal where everybody could be integrated, and that’s where the Hispanic Heritage Month came about.
TT: Whose idea, was it?
RC: It was definitely my idea in all honesty. Again, just trying to get everybody involved and trying to incorporate all of our students from different parts of Latin America not necessarily focusing on for example Cinco de mayo which is something an American holiday but with Mexican ties.
TT: Why do you think it is important to implement these traditions here on campus?
RC: I definitely think it’s important because our student body is changing so our traditions also need to change and be modified and become very inclusive and include everybody so I’m excited to see how next year comes about and keep going at it and make it a tradition that kind of the first part of the school year.
TT: How has this tradition changed or affected the students at Manteca High? Has it made a positive impact?
RC: Just by my observation, I got to see our students volunteer by reading the Loteria cards in the library (on Sept. 15). Students, traditionally, might not participate in other school activities but just doing those small things that are very empowering for them, and I just hope that it allows people to just participate in the event and that it will open doors to other things.
TT: How do you plan on keeping our students educated on Hispanic heritage after this month passes?
RC: I will definitely need to work with our teacher to see how we can incorporate in November the school year. I know HYLC has different activities planned throughout the year so we are going to be working with other clubs and other organizations throughout the year which may involve our food, music, and different activities but I am looking forward to our next activity, which will hopefully be in November.