In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, students connect, honor their Hispanic background in different ways.


Submitted Photo: Alex Ortiz

Senior Alex Oritz wears a typical “Bomba” and “Plena” outfit, typically used to do traditional dances tracing back to afroindigenous roots.

and Jasmine Zhang

With Hispanic Heritage Month starting September 15, people all over the United States and countries such as Spain, Puerto Rico, and Mexico, will honor this month by recognizing and celebrating the history, culture, and the contributions of Hispanic Americans and continue preserving their cultural heritage. 

Senior Alexandra “Ally” Ortiz Diaz who used to live in Puerto Rico before moving to the United States says that her culture isn’t something she and her family celebrates, but appreciates. 

She said via email, “I am very in touch with various aspects of my culture and my history since they make what I am. Food is very important to us and it is something we pride ourselves on. It is the center of all festivities and family gatherings, and it is one way we can all come together as one.”

Ortiz Diaz says that each country has their own specific food that defines them, so food is very important and unique to her. 

Sophomore Kyle Gutierrez also says that food is important to his culture because gathering together is an important part of Hispanic culture.

He said via email, “We always FaceTime our family in Mexico and talk to them and sometimes we will go to New York or Mexico to celebrate someone’s birthday or Quinceanera. We eat a lot of Hispanic food like arroz con Pollo, Tortas, Sopa de Lima, Elote, and Tostadas.”

Another important part of keeping in touch with Hispanic heritage is celebrating traditional Hispanic holidays. Ortiz Diaz says that it is harder to keep in touch with her culture outside of Puerto Rico because she could go to festivals with her friends there.

She said via email, “One big thing we do in Puerto Rico is Christmas. Apparently Puerto Ricans celebrate the longest Christmas in the world, starting on Black friday and ending after the “Octavitas”, which is 8 days after Three Kings day. At the end of the “Octavitas” we celebrate “Las fiestas de San Sebastián”, which is a three day party in Old San Juan to celebrate.”

Gutierrez said via email, “For Hispanic Heritage Month, we were going to go to Mexico to celebrate this month and we planned on having a small party and walk around in the city. We also celebrate the Day of the Dead with my family.”

Ortiz Diaz also has a mini Puerto Rico flag in her room as decoration as well as a few handicrafts in her room and around the house.

She said via email, “It’s like mini reminders of where I’m from and all the memories attached to them.”

Gutierrez said that these small reminders are important to him as well. Hispanic heritage is not something that is just celebrated and honored during the month of September but on a day-to-day basis as well. 

He said via email, “We also have a flag in our living room to repr
esent our Hispanic culture but it involves food and music along with celebration of day of the dead.”

Music, movies, and TV shows are also important to stay in touch with aspects of Hispanic culture. 

Titiana Rotger, whose native language is Spanish, said that she often listens to a lot of Hispanic music and will watch movies that are popular in Spain. She is a HR Transformation Associate at Grant Thornton in Chicago. 

Rotger said, “Pop culture is an easy way for me to stay connected to my culture.”

Gutierrez said that he and his family listen to Hispanic music while they are eating and cooking.

He said via email, “We will listen to Hispanic music while eating traditional Hispanic foods together with my family.”