A student-led cultural festival of music and dance along with an award ceremony honoring founder and President Emeritus Sonia Gutierrez closed out a month of activities for Hispanic Heritage Month. The annual festival included remarks from Jackie Reyes, Director of the Office on Latino Affairs, and Ward 1 Council Member Brianne Nadeau.
Preceding the celebration, Council Member David Grosso gave a toast recognizing Ms. Gutierrez’s contributions to adult education. During the festival, former U.S. Representative Robert Garcia presented the national American Dream Medallion of Excellence, which was awarded to Ms. Gutierrez by the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute. A group of students, including artist Ismael Isidris Delgado, gave Ms. Gutierrez an art piece depicting her impact on immigrant adult learners in the District. Renowned opera singer, Anamer Castrello Trio, performed an emotional version of Preciosa.
Following the award ceremony, student hostesses Fatima Furlan, an ESL level 8 student from Brazil, and Ana Mejia, an ESL level 7 student from Honduras, took the stage to introduce a series of student and staff performances of traditional folkloric dance from Mexico, Colombia, El Salvador, Paraguay, Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico. Students and guests were invited to the school cafeteria following the performances for a tasting of Puerto Rican food, and music by Grupo Corozo.
This festival was the culmination of a series of events to honor the diversity of the school’s Latino population. Other activities included a GED visit to the Gala Theater for a performance of Yerma, a Latina Leadership panel, a community roundtable on the far-reaching impacts of the violence in El Salvador, workshops on Afro-Peruvian music, Mexican folkloric dancing and Afro-Colombian drumming.
Click here to see a video of the event.