SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Students from Duggan Academy were able to take part in a special cultural celebration for Hispanic Heritage Month.

There were colorful flags on each of the student’s lockers, the smell of rice and beans, dancing through the halls and students performing ‘bomba y plena.’

Yamila Garcia, a science teacher at Duggan Academy, told 22News that the students were able to engage in conversations that help enable reflections on multiple facets of their identities. They watched a film that embraces their unique backgrounds and they produced art that celebrates their heritage… all while enjoying cultural dishes.

“It’s very important for each of these students to learn all their cultures. There’s not only, let’s say Puerto Ricans or Dominicans, there’s multiple ones. So we love for our children to learn from everyone’s culture,” said Garcia.

“I feel like it makes us feel more connected to each other, like we understand each other more. There’s not only one culture that gets there moment, we celebrate all of them,” said Zulieka Candelaira, a student.

Sixty percent of the students that attend Duggan Academy are part of the Hispanic/Latino community.

Americans celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America, according to hispanicheritagemonth.gov.

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