By Daniel Rader, ETM Staff
“Diversity is the only way forward,” said music teacher Adrianne Prosini.
To celebrate diversity, Adrianne, along with their music students at P.S. 49 Willis Avenue in the Bronx, took part in their school’s Hispanic Heritage Month concert. With nearly three-fourths of children at P.S. 49 identifying as Hispanic or Latino, Adrianne felt it was crucial to participate. This year’s concert theme was Pa’lante, which means “going forward,” and was chosen by the arts team at P.S. 49 to demonstrate how the school is a growing community with diverse learners.
“I want students to see themselves represented in the music education classroom,” Adrianne said. “And we want our students to feel seen and validated,” they added.
We observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15. It is a particular time to celebrate the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America.
Adrianne and their students discussed National Hispanic Heritage Month in the classroom as part of the preparation for their performance. For example, Adrianne asked their students, “Why are we doing this celebration even though school just started,” and “Why do we celebrate our heritage?”
“Hispanic Heritage Month makes every Hispanic person feel like they belong,” one student said. And for many P.S. 49 students, the concert is a big part of that sense of belonging: “You get to show off what your country is and you get to be proud of it.”
“Music is how we connect through our similarities and our differences. It can help us honor our dead and celebrate our lives,” Adrianne commented.
On October 17 and 18th, Adrianne and their students kicked off their school’s Hispanic Heritage Month concert by singing Cuban favorite “Guantanamera” and “Himno de las Américas.”
“It’s important because we need to celebrate ALL the people that changed the world and make it better,” one student said.
“We hope to elevate and celebrate Hispanic Heritage. We want our students to graduate from our school knowing that they should receive equal and fair treatment in all aspects of life,” Adrianne said.
“It doesn’t matter how you look. It matters what’s inside yourself. Your country is not the same as others, but still, your country matters to this whole wide world,” one student commented.
Please help us to continue going forward and support diversity in our schools by visiting ETMonline.org/Donate.