Somos Uno – We Are One: APS Honors Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month (Sept. 15- Oct. 15) is an opportunity to celebrate the rich histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

Sept. 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on Sept. 16 and Sept.18, respectively, according to

Below is just a sample of Atlanta Public Schools events held to honor the rich legacy of Hispanic Americans in APS, Atlanta, and around the world.

Be sure to check back for updates!

Benjamin E. Mays High School

Benjamin E. Mays High School’s ESOL program celebrated its 6th Annual Hispanic Heritage Celebration on Oct. 10. Each year, Mays invites a successful Hispanic motivational speaker to inspire young Latinx scholars. This year, 4X Emmy-award-winning content producer and bilingual expert Judith Martinez-Sadri shared her story of struggles and successes. Students appreciated her presence and enjoyed the celebration, which ended with cultural food and dances.

Benteen Elementary School

The Atlanta Braves and Georgia Power hit it out of the park when Rafael Ortega and Julio Teheran visited Benteen Elementary on Sept. 4. The Braves players joined forces with Georgia Power to kick off Hispanic Heritage Month through hands-on activities that educated students and celebrated the contributions Latinos make to the game of baseball. Read more.

Cleveland Avenue Elementary

Fifth grade students at Cleveland Avenue Elementary School performed salsa dances in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. This was a great collaboration between Spanish and music classes.

Georgia Pre-K Week

The APS Office of Early Learning was thrilled to celebrate Georgia Pre-K Week in English and Spanish this year! Pre-K Week aligned with Hispanic Heritage Month, which provided the perfect opportunity for volunteers to read “Llama Llama Red Pajama/ La Llama Llama Rojo Pijama” in both languages in schools. APS is committed to being a welcoming District to all, and believe it is valuable for students whose home language is Spanish, as well as those whose home language is English, to hear both texts.

The Office of Early Learning is also excited to launch two Spanish Dual Language Immersion Pre-K sites at Garden Hills and Benteen next year!

Morris Brandon Elementary School

Morris Brandon Elementary School kicked off Hispanic Heritage Month festivities with guests who discussed culture and shared music.

North Atlanta High School

At North Atlanta High School,”Somos Uno – We Are One” was this year’s theme that encourages inclusiveness as the school hosted a gambit of culturally rich academic activities, including music, food and dance demonstrations, guest lectures from Latinx speakers, and an essay contest.

  • On Sept. 16, students Emelie Lopez, Janet Juarez, Lissete Garcia, Angeles Moreno, Marleny Francisco, and Liliana Ortiz adorned traditional Mexican costumes as they danced in the international lobby and distributed Latin candies to fellow students. At lunch, the chef’s table displayed Hispanic food, and all students enjoyed Mexican food for the day’s menu.
  • On Sept. 18, opera singer Karina Pegueros (soprano) performed for students taking Spanish classes, music and arts.
  • On Sept. 25, Dr. Pierluigi Mancini talked to about 85 Hispanic students about anxiety, depression and stress.
  • On Sept. 27, Harvard professor Natalia Jaramillo, PhD. talked to female Hispanic seniors about her Latinx experience, success and tenacity in life. Dr. Jaramillo encouraged students to always move forward and never give up. “Do not use obstacles and/or struggles as an excuse for failure,” she said. She also commented that she had to challenge her family and culture because of the expectation they have about women. “I did not want to get married, have babies and have a family. I wanted to travel the world, meet people and be a professional.” When asked about the importance of Hispanic Heritage Month she said, “I celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month every day of my life. I am a Latina woman, and that goes with me wherever I go.”

Mary Lin Elementary School

Under the creative coordination of Spanish teacher Monica Waldman, Mary Lin Elementary School students celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month with a variety of different activities. In addition to a variety of activities, kindergarten students made maracas to use during a mariachi band performance, second graders created puppets of children in traditional Spanish costumes, and students in grades K-2 learned about Mexican cuisine by making tortillas.

Second graders also made calaveras, or decorative skulls, while learning about the Day of the Dead holiday. Also, throughout the month, all morning PA announcements highlighted Hispanice culture and history.

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