'They get to love other cultures': Durham Public Schools celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month

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Thursday, September 15, 2022
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Durham Public Schools is beginning Hispanic Heritage Month by showcasing the culture through food, dance and language.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Durham Public Schools is beginning Hispanic Heritage Month by showcasing the culture through food, dance and language. In Darlene Romero's Spanish class at Pearsontown Elementary School, she shares the language, rich culture and what it means to be a proud Hispanic. Romero who is Nicaraguan wore a huipil, donned only during times of celebration. It was adorned with the national flower, flag and shield.

"This is the dress we wear not only in Nicaragua but in all of Central America," she said.

Fifth-grade student Keelan Brown told ABC11 that her dad gave him some valuable advice. Keelan is learning the basics in Spanish for now.

"If you go to another country, the main language will probably be Spanish. It would be useful to know so if you need help or something you can talk to other people," Keelan said.

Hispanic children are the second-largest group in Durham Public Schools. They make up almost 33% of the student population. Hispanic teachers make up 6% of staffers, which is double the percentage from 2018.

Principal Asia Cunningham brought Spanish class back to Pearsontown Elementary because students overwhelmingly requested it.

"You can see the transfer of learning happening and their responses to each other (are) changing in terms of getting to know who their classmates are authentically," said Cunningham.

Students in Romero's classroom are learning dance and playing La Chalupa, a game like bingo, which focuses on vocabulary from Central America. Her love for her culture was on full display for students to see the value in everyone.

"What we're learning is not for Ms. Romero. It's not for Ms. Cunningham, it's for you," she said. "They get to love other cultures."