Hispanic Heritage Month Highlights at Orchard

National Hispanic Heritage Month traditionally honors the cultures and contributions of both Hispanic and Latino Americans as we celebrate heritage rooted in all Latin American countries. During this month and throughout the year, the National Park Service and our partners, share history, heritage, and accomplishments of Hispanic and Latino Americans of past and present. Here are a few of the curricular highlights from The Orchard School.


The Orchard School
During the celebration of Spanish Heritage Month, the idea of Dia de los Muertos was introduced to our eighth-grade students. They have made a big Ofrenda (altar or shrine) in the Center. You can read more about the altar on the billboard located next to the display. Stop by to check it out!

Día de los Muertos is celebrated on November 1st and November 2nd. Celebrations begin on November 1st, Día de los Muertos Chiquitos -- The Day of the Little Dead also All Saints Day, and continue on November 2, All Souls Day.

This is a joyous occasion when the memory of ancestors and the continuity of life is celebrated. It is believed that at this time the souls of the departed return to visit the living. It is not a time of mourning since "the path back to the living world must not be slippery by tears." Altars are set up in the home with offerings of sweets, favorite foods, beverages, toys, and/or books of the deceased. Marigolds are the traditional decorative flowers.

As part of the cultural presentation, we would like you to consider allowing us to honor one of your deceased relatives. If you decide to participate, you can bring a picture of your family member, his/her favorite candy or treat, his favorite book, etc. We will return all of the items to you after the altar is taken down. You can give your items to your child's Spanish teacher.


The Orchard School

Development Coordinator Vanessa Bertoni-McElroy visited second grade to share about her Latin-speaking country, Venezuela. Students were engaged, curious, and enjoyed a fruit drink and a special snack. 



The Orchard School

The first Parents/Guardians of Latino/Hispanic Children Affinity Group was held on Wednesday, October 11th. This group is for parents who have children identifying as Latino or Hispanic. The goal of this Affinity Group is to celebrate our children and provide a safe and open place for group discussions. This group will be a place for sharing what has worked best for student(s) and parents, along with a safe space to discuss any issues that are relevant. 

Current Orchard parent Juan Benitez will chair the Parents/Guardians of Latino/Hispanic Children Affinity Group, and DEI Coordinator Marcus Hatcher will oversee the group.



The Orchard School

Fifth and sixth-grade Spanish classes studied the work of notable achievers such as Fernando Valenzuela, Jennifer Lopez, and Frida Kahlo. After choosing a notable achiever, students researched to find out where their parents were born, in order to further understand their Hispanic heritage. While they focused on why their achiever was so well known, they were also asked to find out what kind of influence they’ve had on the community. From there, students used their computer skills to create presentations about their achievers. On Friday, students presented their work in the Dignity Center.

Long live Hispanic Heritage Month! (¡Viva el mes de la herencia Hispana!)
Progressive education tenet -- Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion:
Different voices and perspectives enrich us all, and we proactively embrace the rich diversity of the world.

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