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East Side News

The Student News Site of Plainfield East High School

East Side News

FEATURE: Hispanic Heritage Fair boldly creates a space for diversity

Mia Graske
Ballet Folklorico dancers at Plainfield East High School’s Hispanic Heritage Fair on Oct. 14, performing a traditional Mexican dance.

“One in four children in the United States is Hispanic, so Hispanic Heritage Month for me is about preserving and celebrating cultural legacies and traditions,” said Kady Fairfield-Meneses, Latin American Student Organization (LASO) sponsor at Plainfield East High School (PEHS).

With so many cultures in the United States, especially at a diverse school like PEHS, it is important to celebrate the cultures present. To acknowledge this, PEHS hosted a Hispanic Heritage Fair that took place Oct. 14.

The Hispanic Heritage Fair is an homage to the Hispanic culture at PEHS, incorporating Hispanic business vendors, tri-fold posters about different Spanish-speaking countries, and music into the event.

With the Hispanic Heritage Fair debuting this year, there were some difficulties to be overcome.

“It was a challenge in the very beginning getting the word out since this is our first year. Once we connected with a couple of community leaders like Mayor Mary Alexander Basta and Margarita Morelos, we were able to engage the broader community outside of school, so we’re very grateful for their support,” Fairfield-Meneses said.

The fair required plenty of dedication from sponsors and students.

“We had to do a lot of work from scratch. Doing an event on this scale for the first time took a lot of love and time. It was time well spent,” said Becky Elliott, Spanish Honors Society Sponsor.

Some of the logistics to figure out were a DJ and food vendors. Additionally, there were two compelling dance performances: a ballet folklorico by an Aurora-based group and a flamenco performance by a PEHS student:

“I’m really excited for the Ballet Folklorico traditional dance troupe that we have hired out of Aurora to come and perform. It’s going to be super-high energy and great costuming and I just can’t wait to see all these different traditional dances,” Fairfield-Meneses said.

The Hispanic Heritage Fair was an occasion for learning about new viewpoints.

“To me it is an opportunity to learn about different groups of people and how they live and their different lifestyles. I just think it’s important to learn about other countries, because I’m American, so I only have one view of the world. Through these other cultures, I get a broader perspective,” said Lizzy Knoepfle, senior and member of La Sociedad Honoraria Hispánica.

This event will help further PEHS student’s future learning as well:

“The fair raised over $1000 from ticket presales, raffle ticket purchases, online ticket sales, day-of sales, & vendor donations. This is incredible, the money raised will be split evenly between LASO and Spanish Honor Society and will be awarded as a scholarship to outstanding senior members,” Elliott said.

Overall, the fair generates a space for appreciation of different cultures.

“I’m excited that we’re creating a space to celebrate the beauty and diversity of our school,” Fairfield-Meneses said.

Ultimately, the goal is sharing appreciation for culture and growing this tradition at PEHS to expand perspectives.

“I hope we continue having fairs and finding other ways to spread culture throughout the school.” Knoepfle said.


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About the Contributor
Mia Graske, Editor-in-chief
Hello, my name is Mia, and I am currently a senior. This is my third year on East Side News. I love music and art. I am looking forward to new stories and new opportunities this year.

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