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Aiken County Schools Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

Schools across the district have celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month by honoring the contributions and influence of Hispanic culture in our country and right here in Aiken County. National Hispanic Heritage Month runs annually from September 15 through October 15. Many schools integrated celebrations into their lessons, recognizing traditions and achievements deeply rooted in Hispanic culture.

Isabella Peralta, Aiken Scholars Academy Senior and student council president, shared her thoughts on why National Hispanic Heritage Month is so important. “Hispanic Heritage Month, like other heritage months, is extremely important and valuable to society. By celebrating the month, not only can students grasp the culture and its beauty, but they can also learn things not taught in the classroom.”

Aiken Scholars Academy students have been starting their mornings with music performed or inspired by Latin musicians as a fun and celebratory way to kick off the school day. Their festivities continued this month as students participated in a chalk contest, creating chalk drawings reflecting Hispanic culture; a trivia competition, where students tested their knowledge and learned about prominent Hispanic figures; a dance competition; game day, which included dominoes and soccer; a school assembly with guest speaker Dr. Harris, a USC Aiken Spanish Professor; and a food festival, where students experienced the many flavors of Hispanic foods and got a taste of the culture.

“Hispanics and all minorities have had momentous impacts on the development of the United States and continue to contribute to society in ways that exceed the limits that stereotypes assume. Hispanic Heritage Month offers the community valuable insight to the history of the culture and its contributions while exposing the beauty of the music, dance, and food to brighten everyone's day,” shared Peralta.

Ridge Spring-Monetta Middle-High students, faculty, and staff have been celebrating Hispanic Heritage with door decorating contests and an art display in the Media Center featuring a local Hispanic artist, David Cianni.  Along with his career as an artist which spans more than 40 years, Mr. Cianni has special ties to RSM as a father of a student and husband to an RSM staff member. Born in Guatemala, he immigrated to the United States at the age of 17 and became an American citizen. He specializes in metal art and started experimenting when he was in the first grade, making playful art with recycled materials. “My inspiration for making art comes from seeing everything that can be created with my hands and different waste materials,” shared Mr. Cianni.

The resources available in the United States motivate Mr. Cianni to continue making art. “It is incredible all the materials that people throw away in this country that can be turned into beautiful pieces of art.” Mr. Cianni’s passions also extend to drawing for which he has won several awards, one at the national level in his home country of Guatemala. His art has been featured in exhibits throughout the United States, as well as right here in Aiken County.

RSM Middle-High students also held a grand assembly to celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month and invited the elementary school students to join them. The event marked the first time all RSM Elementary and RSM Middle-High students have celebrated together as one RSM K-12 campus.

School District Superintendent King Laurence is pleased that ASA, RSM and other schools have celebrated and honored the contributions of Hispanics in our community over the last month. “We are grateful for the opportunity to learn from local community members and students as they’ve shared their culture this month as we look forward to exploring, learning and growing together in the future,” he said.