When asked what they’d like to be when they grow up the students provide answers that punctuate their lofty expectations. Some answers are a police officer, a journalist, an artist, a doctor, and, why not, President of the United States. For Red Bank’s Hispanic students, there are no limitations.
On Wednesday, the district hosted its Hispanic Heritage Celebration at Red Bank Middle School. The annual event celebrated culture and history with performances of song and dance and also recognized the achievements of several Hispanics who have made notable contributions in varied fields.
In front of an audience of about 500 people, students wore costumes or carried overlarge pictures and stepped to the microphone, one by one, to detail the accomplishments of people like prolific Mexican artist Frida Kahlo and Jose Hernandez, the U.S.’s first Mexican-American astronaut.
The event was part of National Hispanic American Heritage Month.
“I think it’s just a great opportunity for kids to celebrate their heritage and I think it instills a sense of pride,” Red Bank Superintendent Laura Morana said. “The Hispanic community has contributed to government, science, food, music, fashion and the impact that community has had is felt by everyone.”
Red Bank boasts a diverse student population made up of a number of national, racial, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds. What’s important for the district’s students to remember, Morana said, is that it doesn’t matter where you come from, but where you plan on going.
Wednesday night’s celebration demonstrated that.
“You can be successful no matter what,” Morana said. “We want students to take advantage of the opportunities and to know this is just the beginning of a bright future.”