Every October, the Red Bank Regional High School (RBR) community looks forward to its multi-cultural club’s celebration of Hispanic Heritage. The school recognizes the many countries that compose the Hispanic American experience for both their uniqueness and rich culture which is also commemorated with performances by the schools Visual and Performing Arts students.
This year, RBR senior Guadalupe Luna introduced the event in Spanish (which RBR Principal Risa Clay translated in English) stating, “Most Hispanic and Latinos share one significant item, a common passion for food. To us food represents more than a simple dish. It represents family, sharing and love.”
The multi-cultural club members highlighted many celebrated chefs from throughout the Hispanic/Latino world including such icons as Alex Garcia of Cuba, Joes Enrique of Puerto Rico, Lorena Garcia of Venezuela, Harry Sasson of Columbia, among others. All have brought world attention to their countries special aromas, favors and delectable dishes. Fulfilling that same mission, special guest speaker Marita Lynn who operates her critically acclaimed Peruvian restaurant, Runa on Monmouth Street, told the students body of her aspirations and pursuit of the American dream.
Ms. Lynn, came to America with her parents and pursued her passion for food. She graduated the prestigious Culinary Institute of NY with honors and went on to train and work with very highly acclaimed restaurants in New York City and New Jersey. She launched a very successful catering business and then, last year, opened her own restaurant.
She told the RBR students, “It wasn’t easy opening a business, the road was difficult but I am a persistent person who knew what I wanted to do…I am here to tell you to always follow your dreams, even if people discourage you. If it gets the fiery side of you and burns you, go for it!”
Passionate performances were also displayed during the assembly by RBR’s creative writing poets. Alex Sosa & Grace Cody performed their poem “Mixed In” on growing up American in an immigrant family. A powerful commentary on the current presidential election political rancor and its perception by minority youth drew fervent audience applause. Seniors Emily Lugos and Mya Nunnelly performed their piece, “Let’s Trump Racism”; an excerpt follows:
You must consider this when you say
The Mexican Government is forcing their most unwanted people into the United States
When my immigrant mother fought for my life
With the calluses on her hands
She tells me every day
Tienes que hacer todo lo que puedes
Tienes que trabajar lo más duro que puedas
You have to do everything you can.
You have to work as hard as you can.
Red Bank Regional’s dance majors performed two numbers to Latin melodies influenced by the salsa, cha-cha, rumba, flamenco and tango. In fact, many members of the RBR Staff participated in the project through a special video filming them throughout RBR’s hallways and classrooms dancing to the spirited Que Suenen los Tambores. The video can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XVkijBYi5eQ. The event concluded with a spirited LaBamba by the combined strings ensemble and the debuting Guitar majors, which had the audience dancing in the aisles.