SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Students at the DeBerry Swan Elementary School in Springfield were able to come together to celebrate Hispanic heritage with parents and faculty.

11 years ago Aleyda Torres, a special Education teacher at DeBerry School, made it her mission to create space for a Hispanic heritage celebration at her school that showcases everyone. “This is who we are,” said Torres. “A lot of kids are Hispanic whether they come form Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Mexico, wherever they come from. We are all one.”

Torres knows the valuable role that educators play in molding our younger generations. Over 70 percent of the students at DeBerry School are Hispanic/Latino. So every year the school invites speakers that represent the Latinx Community to show students that people that look like them and talk the same language as them can be successful.

Principal Sharonda Hector, tells 22News, “It helps shape who they are and who they want to be in the future, to not limit themselves and they can go as far as they’d like to. It’s very important for students to see who they are in adults and all types of professionals.”

There were representatives like Reporter Melissa Torres representing 22News, and the importance of diversity equity and inclusion in the media. Hector says these celebrations are important for students, so that they can embrace who they are. “Students need to know who they are and where they come from. So they can be proud of it and also just learn other cultures right? This is what makes the world a better place cause the more we know about each other.”

Students also had a role in Friday’s celebration. They danced, sang, and read poems throughout the morning truly showing off their cultural pride and just how loud and proud they truly are.

Local News

Melissa Torres is a reporter who has been a part of the 22News team since 2021. Follow Melissa on X @melissatorrestv and view her bio to see more of her work.