Students at Prairie High School have organized a number of events and celebrations to recognize October as Hispanic Heritage Month.
Melody Brizuela, the founder of Prairie’s Latino Student Union, started to craft the celebration last November with her friends Meendy Hernandez and Alexandra Caballero as a way to recognize the Hispanic culture that’s present in the school.
“I think we’ve had a lot of support and this club helped start the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) Club, which was really cool, and hopefully we can have more student unions as well, like a Black student union or Asian student union, too,” Brizuela said.
On Oct. 14, Caballero said the student union plans to host a potluck that features food from various Hispanic cultures. Brizuela plans to bring the El Salvador dish pupusa, while Caballero wants to bring tamales. Other items people have expressed an interest in bringing are tacos and champurrado, which is a Mexican drink, Caballero said.
“(Brizuela) is from El Salvador, and we’re Mexican, so I know that our foods are different everywhere, so it’s going to be nice seeing everyone bring their food in and see us all enjoy it,” Caballero said.
Brizuela said the club is trying to spread the word about the schoolwide potluck through social media, posters and daily announcements at the school. The club originally planned to take a field trip to the Latino Youth Leadership event in Vancouver on Oct. 7, but had to cancel because that day was state and service day at Prairie High School, which meant teacher chaperones weren’t able to accompany the students.
All three of the club members said Hispanic Heritage Month is significant to them in its own respective ways.
“I feel like it’s important because you get to represent your culture and then represent who you are and feel connected to it,” Hernandez said.
Caballero agreed with Hernandez and added, “Just showing it off to other people who don’t really know much about our culture, it’s nice letting them learn about it too.”
As for Brizuela, she said, “I think it’s important to just show who we are and have that representation, but not just this month, but all the months out of the year, and that it’s not just a one-month thing.”
Brizuela said they were inspired to start the Latino Student Union to bring more minority representation to the campus.
“Latinos make up the biggest minority group at the school, and it was sad that we don’t have a club or … any type of club for people of color at the school,” she said.
The student union members hope their fellow students can learn some new things as they observe Hispanic Heritage Month.
Brizuela said the celebration is also a generally good time for others to appreciate their culture.
For next year, Caballero said she hopes to have a Hispanic spirit week, but the group needs approval from the school first. If that’s approved, they hope to encourage Hispanic students to dress up as their favorite idol from their culture on one of the days.
Battle Ground High School also recognized Hispanic Heritage Month but didn’t host activities for it.