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Successful Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration held at TCHS
“Hispanic heritage is American heritage” — Secretary Miguel Cardona
The dancers’ routines were choreographed by Lucy Lozano, Letty Ovalle, and Dora Contreras.
The dancers’ routines were choreographed by Lucy Lozano, Letty Ovalle, and Dora Contreras. - photo by Paul Evans

Over 450 people attended the first district Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration event in Tattnall County on Saturday, September 17, 2022, at Tattnall County High School.

This event allowed those attending to experience Hispanic culture, art, music, and food. The event is hosted by North Tattnall Middle School (NTMS) Multilingual Program/Progama Multilengue de NTMS. Claudia Martinez, Ed.D., of NTMS was the brains behind this event. Martinez is a first-generation immigrant and college graduate. 

“Growing up, I had all of the odds stacked against me. 

After graduating from high school, I began working with the Migrant Program, and this job and my experience motivated me to become a teacher. I became a teacher to facilitate and help pave the way for other Hispanic students. I constantly remind my students that if I could do it, they can too,” Martinez said. “I hope this event united everyone and teaches everyone to view things from multiple perspectives. This celebration proves that anything is possible with the unity of schools, community, students, and parents.”

She believes this event helped bridge the gap between schools and the community. It brought everyone together, and the students’ faces proved they were proud of their heritage and culture. All attendees had nothing but good things to say, according to Martinez. 

“Everyone enjoyed all aspects of this celebration. I hope this is the first of many more,” Martinez said. “An event such as this is important because it educates, celebrates, and helps to create empathy. I believe in the importance of teaching and immersing all Hispanic students in their heritage. Events such as this teach students to help find their identity and purpose in life. This celebration also brightens the minds of everyone to see that, yes, we are different, but at the same time, we have many similarities. It teaches us to appreciate and respect one another.”

The event was sponsored by Georgia APEX Project, Canoochee EMC, and Literacy for Learning, Living, and Leading GA (L4GA).

Traditional folklore student performances started in the cafetorium at 10 a.m., led by Choreographers Lucy Lozano, Letty Ovalle, and Dora Contreras. Theresa Smith, a violin instructor, conducted a lovely performance as well. 

Various booths were set up for everyone to visit after the performances. A social gathering followed the booth visits. A free authentic Mexican meal and other freebies were given out throughout the event. 

Local individuals, businesses, and area colleges and universities were invited to participate in this event by hosting a booth that provides information about their business or class offerings and includes an educational activity about the Hispanic culture. Those businesses with booths include: 

GSU “Pop-Up” Museum

GSU Multicultural recruitment office

GSU Educators of Color

Tormenta Soccer League

Tattnall County Board of Education

South Tattnall Elementary School

South Tattnall Middle School

North Tattnall Elementary School

TCHS Spanish Department

Bilingual Victim Advocate Association

Tattnall County Migrant Program – Parent Leaders

Tattnall County Public Library

Georgia Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages

The Glennville Bank

East Georgia Health Care Clinic

Artesanias Reina

La Concha, LLC

Tacos La Chona

Other individual participants include: Yasmine Varela, Jayla Delgado, Diana Lara, Isabella Torres, America Trejo, Cesar Trejo, Briana Lara, Emily Diaz, Oscar Franco, Giselle Rodriguez, Martin Alfaro, Georgina Rodriguez, Yaret Rodriguez, Nicholas Agustin, Luis Dominguez, Cielo Martinez, Luna Martinez, Noe Lozano, Jesus Lozano, Yamil Banda, Aleah Castro, Wyatt Dykes, Cali Guther, Camden Guther, Chistabelle Guther, Stephen Jordan, Luiz Martinez, Alaina Yancey, Jade Morales, Adelynn Rice, Kenadi Yancey, Zaria Yancey, Nayeli Baxcajay, Karen Contreras, Ricardo Claudio, Vanessa Banda, and Leo Castro. 

Martinez would especially like to thank Tattnall County Schools Superintendent Gina Williams, EdD., and Tattnall County Schools administrators, faculty, staff, parents, and students.

Hispanic Heritage Month begins on September 15 and ends on October 15. This year’s theme is “Unidos: Inclusivity for a Stronger Nation.” During this month, the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America are celebrated.