Upper school Spanish teachers Roberto Mercedes and Andrea Rodas, their students, Modern and Classical Languages Department Chair Jonathan Karpinos, and Head of Upper School Peter Newcomb planned the afternoon celebration.
According to Mercedes, the event “is a vibrant opportunity to expand our cultural perspective and horizons; it is an opportunity to experience diversity at Masters.”
Hispanic Heritage Month takes place between September 15 and October 15 in the United States and is a time to commemorate the histories, cultures and contributions of Hispanic and Latinx Americans whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.
Making a grand musical entrance before an audience of nearly 100 community members was Tierra Mia, a mariachi band that performed classics like “La Bamba,” “Guantanamera” and “Besame Mucho.” Lyrics were provided so everyone could sing along.
“The songs derive from mainly Spanish, Mexican and Cuban origins but all are performed in the traditional mariachi style,” Rodas explained. “Our Spanish students know many of these songs already, but hopefully other students joined in regardless of what language they are currently learning at Masters.”
For Karpinos, hearing Mercedes and fellow language teacher Abdoulaye Ngom sing alongside Tierra Mia’s lead singer was a fun highlight — as was “seeing Señor Mercedes lead a dance line of students around the tent while the band played ‘La Cucaracha.’”
The Masters School electrician Victor Linares, who also owns a Mexican food truck, served tacos, quesadillas and burritos. Students were also invited to create decorative paper banners or "papel picado," which are considered a Mexican folk art.
Latinos Unidos student club leaders Ana Castillo ’23, and Angelica Lopez-Tucker ’23 read poetry and spoke about their experiences and those of immigrants from Spanish-speaking countries.
Castillo called the event “a huge success and a great representation of Latinx culture.” Hannah Florian ’23, also of Latinos Unidos, added, “This month is not just about celebrating Hispanic culture but also recognizing the remarkable achievements that Latinos have made in the world.”