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RCS holds annual Hispanic culture program

Russellville High School Hispanic students shared interesting facts about each country represented by Hispanic students in the school, wore traditional attire and performed traditional dances and songs during the third annual Hispanic Heritage Program Oct. 20 in the Russellville City Schools auditorium.

“It was a wonderful program,” explained RHS teacher Stephanie Mayfield. “The students were so excited. We’ve been working on this for months. They were so happy and energetic to represent their cultures.

“More than anything, it’s the pride the students showed in their cultures that was so important in this program,” she added. “We’ve just got a great school system, and I’m so proud to work here.”

Special guest speaker for the program was Ruby Villalobos-Adamas, a Hispanic lawyer.

“Talent is universal, but opportunities are not,” she shared. “If you are going to get where you want to go in life, you have to create your own opportunities.”

She advised the students to consider that they might have support systems they don’t even know or think about, recommending they share with people what it is they hope to accomplish.

“You never know who can help you get there,” she added. She also advised students not to let money be the most important factor. “Find your why. Don’t pick the career you think will make you the most money or just do what your parents did; pick what motivates you, what’s going to get you up in the morning.”

Villalobos-Adams encouraged the students to think about their motivation. “If you pick something that motivates and drives you, you’ll be a lot happier in life.”

Among the program performances:

  • The RHS drama department, under the direction of Patrice Smith and Aaron Freeman, presented “Recuerdeme.”
  • “Como la Flor” was performed by RHS senior Mylene Martinez.
  • Jackeline Gonzalez shared interesting facts about México, including the colors, symbols and meaning of the country’s flag.
  • Brian Santos served as the emcee, and he read an explanation of the Mexican holiday “Día de los Muertos” – “Day of the Dead.”
  • Students learned a little about Guatemala, including that it’s known for chocolate, having invented the first chocolate bar during Mayan times.
  • Areli Gonzalez, a RHS sophomore, performed a violin rendition of “México Lindo.”
  • Mexican dances performed included “Zapateado” and “Cumbia.”
  • Yadmil Perez talked about the colors and symbols of the Honduras flag and what their significance is, as well as information about the country, including its love of soccer.
  • Meily Perez and Damaris Bonilla talked about the meaning behind the flag of the Dominican Republic.
  • RHS teacher Anna Pérez Todd shared information about Cuba, including special food, empanadas and pastellitos.
  • Erik Jacinto and Saul Orantes talked about the origins of the dance of “Los Chinelos.”

Others who helped with the program include Mayfield, Mr. Martinez, Mrs. Martinez, Miss Lopez and Miss Andrews. RHS Principal Dr. Jeremy Madden gave the closing remarks.

“We were so proud to be a part of the annual Hispanic Heritage Program at Russellville High School,” said Andrews. “Our middle school students researched Hispanic countries and created poster presentations to decorate for the program. Mr. McLain’s and Ms. Ridge’s history classes also contributed their Mayan/Aztec pyramids and cultural suitcase projects to decorate.”

Pérez Todd said she is proud of how the students performed in the program.

“It was such a moving sight to see all of the Hispanic cultures at RHS recognized,” she said. “I loved seeing my students who would otherwise never get on stage perform with such pride as the student body cheered them on.”