RBR Celebrates its Students Roots during Hispanic Heritage Month
On October 17, the Red Bank Regional High School (RBR) held its traditional celebration in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month arranged by the Multi-Cultural Club with performances by the RBR Visual & Performing Arts Academy.
Principal Risa Clay welcomed her students in English while RBR senior Corey Van Huff, Neptune City, translated in Spanish, “Here at RBR we are proud to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month and recognize the achievements of a culture that is prominently represented in our school and community.”
Through video interviews, RBR teachers all shared their experiences either as tourists, students or missionaries in Latin American countries.
RBR Spanish teacher and American Peruvian Karina Tedeschi gave the keynote speech of the event. She talked about her immigrant American upbringing stating, “Embracing the Latino part of me taught me a lot about acceptance and diversity of other people. It is who you are and for me teaching Spanish is who I am.” She added that RBR was also a community that embraced everyone stating, “It gives me a lot of hope for our future. I see so many great minds and wonderful students that give great pride and hope in the future that we will all be united, and one human race.”
RBR VPA drama student Jose Francisco Rojas teamed with the creative writers to perform a vignette entitled “You and Me.” From the audience, standing creative writing students chanted the names of seven states—California, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado and Wyoming. Jose followed with his poetic, historical soliloquy of how, almost overnight in 1853, Mexican residents suddenly found themselves strangers in a foreign country when “They didn’t cross the border, the border crossed them.” His piece refers to the treaty that finally settled the spoils of the Mexican-American War and delivered America land that would eventually become the last of its 48 continental United States. He forwarded to the present day stating, “163 years later this is still an issue where 11.5 million illegal immigrants are working to live their lives in the places their ancestors were born and take the strides needed to reach the American Dream.” He then quoted Robert Frost’s “Mending Wall” poem, reciting, “Before I built a wall I’d ask to know what it was walling in or walling out, and to whom I was like to give offense.”
Latino influenced performances punctuated the program with a medley of Latin-inspired choreography to a mix of songs from Latin artists including Gloria Estefan’s “Get On your Feet”. The RBR Strings ensemble performed Carmen’s “Habanera” while RBR piano major Griffin Perry played “Milongna del Angels” by Astor Piazzolla. The RBR Concert Choir performed the famous rap tune from Hamilton “My Shot” written by Latino American Lin Manuel Miranda while the women of the Concert Choir performed “Juntos” by Jim Papoulis.