The annual Hispanic Heritage festivities at North Main Street School in Pleasantville began at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 23.
A sea of families, many dressed in traditional costumes, filled the multipurpose room decorated with posters of famous people and flags of countries from Central and South American. Cameras were raised and applause of praise resounded as the drama club performed Los Paises Hispanicos and La Bamba for the 2019 Hispanic Heritage celebration. Mr. Wasserman, the Spanish teacher, played his guitar as smiling students joined in with an exuberant rendition of Fiesta Time.
Producing the Hispanic Heritage celebration took a community effort. Plentiful food donations came from North Main street families and staff. There was also a Pride Grant from the PEA.
Mr. Kavanagh, who has been the MC for North Main events for over 10 years said, “The Hispanic Heritage celebration has been one of the high notes of each and every school year. The music, dancing, and the food creates a familial atmosphere that brings the North Main community together.”
The festivities also included a performance by the group Mexico Beyond Mariachi. Mexico from Mariachi has two divisions, arts and education and a PAC touring group. Peter Bogdanos cofounder explained the founding principles of the arts and education program.
“We want to share a cultural intelligence by breaking down stereotypes, so that people see Mexico as a diverse country. We hope our group brings an understanding that culture is something that connects to everybody.”
The Mariachi band uses some unusual Mexican instruments. They serenaded the audience with the sounds of turtle shells, and the jaw from a donkey played with bones accompanied by a violin. Sounds of owls and nature were reproduced through small shells. Performers sprinkled throughout the audience called to each other using huge conch shells. Traditional drums beat a catchy rhythm. In the audience, students feeling the pulse of the music were tapping on their legs.
As the band finished playing, the aroma of pollo guisado (stewed chicken, onions and peppers), pernil ( pork shoulder seasoned with lots of garlic) and Honduran baleadas (a taco slathered with refried beans and white cheese) wafted through the air as the music began to wind down. A free dinner was served to all who attended the celebration.
Mrs. McGaneyGuy, principal of North Main, said as she looked around at the end of the evening,“ It’s a community effort here at North Main. Just like going to your families house and gathering to eat and socialize. We at North Main invite our families to come to our house, our school and enjoy the food and entertainment. We celebrate together like the family we truly are. And we always enjoy welcoming back former students who love joining in North Main celebrations.”