By KRISTA CHAMBERS
Capital News Service
LANSING – Sturgis Public Schools are joining in the statewide celebration of Hispanic culture scheduled to run through Oct. 15.
The state’s first annual Hispanic Heritage Month was honored in the Senate session at the Capitol Wednesday, a cultural celebration Sturgis schools have been recognizing throughout the month.
Alejandra Garrett, director of the English as a Second Language Program within Sturgis Public Schools, said she is pleased with the introduction of the heritage celebration.
“It will be very beneficial to the community and students,” she said. “This will show the community about our heritage, and the Hispanics within the community will also learn more about their heritage.”
On a state level, the Senate session opened with an introduction of the Hispanic business organizations who were in Lansing to meet with legislators. A Hispanic minister then gave the invocation at the session, and Latin food was served outside the Capitol during the lunch hour.
“The events scheduled at the Capitol were very successful,” said Marylou Mason, executive director of the Michigan Committee on Spanish Speaking Affairs. “And the Lord was with us because the weather was beautiful.”
Among the events scheduled in Lansing were motivational speeches by Lt. Col. Consuelo Kickbush, highest ranking Hispanic woman in the U.S. Army, and Marcia Vargas, vice president of the McDonald’s Corporation. More than 250 teachers and high school students were present at the events.
Activities have been scheduled throughout the state featuring guest speakers, museum exhibits, church services and workshops, all intended to promote knowledge and pride of Hispanic heritage in Michigan.
Garrett said there are more than 400 children of Hispanic heritage within the Sturgis school system, and each school has different activities planned throughout the month.
“Displays of Hispanic foods, clothing and goods are on display at the schools,” she said. “In the high school and middle schools, we have speakers coming in to give talks about different cultures.”
Garrett hopes the introduction of the state’s Hispanic Heritage Month will help promote understanding between the Sturgis community and the Hispanic community within.
“We have different social classes in Mexico,” she said. “We aren’t all the same. This will help get rid of stereotypes.”
© 2002, Capital News Service, Michigan State University School of Journalism
By KRISTA CHAMBERS