Proud Hispanic Heritage

Round Lake High School ends the month of October with a cultural celebration that honors Hispanic heritage.


Valeria Almaraz

Calacas are a common sight during Day of the Dead.

Gretchen Baez

Round Lake Senior High School, very proud of its high percentages of Hispanic culture, kicked off the month of October with a celebration that mainly focused on the recognition of the Hispanic heritage.

RLHS is continuing a tradition started by President Lyndon Johnson in 1968. President Johnson started the observation of the Hispanic Heritage week, which was later on expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to a 30-day celebration starting September 15 and ending October 15. These two presidents had the belief that Hispanic heritage is something that should be recognized, especially in the United States.

In the spirit of Hispanic Heritage Month, Latin America takes the first and second day of November to celebrate El Día de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead). This event originated in Mexico to honor and remember the loved ones who passed away. The families who celebrate this come together in large events to “distract” themselves from potential grief. Typically these celebrations include festivals that incorporate dancing, arts, and crafts.

To embrace this cultural celebration, RLHS decorated around the school with Calacas and Calaveras, Spanish terms for skeletons and skulls. They also encouraged everyone else to come to events held by Spanish clubs.

“In a school like this, especially with over 72 percent Latino, I think it should be more advertised as an environment and as a culture,” SOMOS Club leader at RLHS, Raul Rodriguez said in an interview.

Coming from the city that was similar in Hispanic population as Round Lake, when Rodriguez moved here he noticed a lot of “disconnect” in the student’s Hispanic roots. This inspired him to start the SOMOS club with a purpose of creating Latino leaders. This club’s main goal is also to encourage Hispanic students to embrace their culture and not hide it when they are surrounded by a different culture in the “real world”. He points out that “It’s more of being proud to say ‘I am Latino’”, since many tend to hide their cultural traditions or even their language, to avoid being looked as “minority”.

Dreamer and senior student at Elmhurst College,  Naara Martinez mentioned that Hispanic culture “should be respected and valued all year round.” Naara testified that she has gone through a lot of obstacles to reach her goals. The process of graduating from a 4-year college as an RN was not easy. As a Dreamer is was difficult for her to obtain financial aid. She also experienced cultural shock when she entered college because she was one of the few Hispanic students from her class. After years of hard work, Naara is now months away from her “dream come true”.

With a wrap up of October and its celebration of Hispanic heritage, like any other cultural celebration, students and staff at RLHS believe it should be “respected and valued” all year round. Round Lake High School has never discriminated but celebrates the impact Hispanic culture had not only in the school but in the outside world.