At least 500 spectators are expected for Round Lake Area Unit District 116's Hispanic Heritage Month celebration that'll feature a variety of entertainment next week.
Set for 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11, at Round Lake High School's gymnasium, the free program will include a performance by sophomore Brisila Barros, who was a finalist this year on "El Factor X", a Spanish-language version of Simon Cowell's empire of television singing competitions.
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District 116's parent outreach coordinator, Maria Coluga, said volunteers from the Bilingual Parents Advisory Committee have worked to assemble the Hispanic Heritage Month celebration called "Many Backgrounds, Many Stories ... One American Spirit". She said such an event is fitting in a district with a student population that's about 75 percent Hispanic.
Coluga said based on the turnout for the inaugural celebration in 2012, organizers believe at least 500 spectators will be present for the entertainment next week.
"There is so such talent in the district," Coluga said.
Barros, 15, of Round Lake Beach, finished fourth on "El Factor X". She spent five weeks taping the MundoFox program in Mexico City with 8- to 15-year-old contestants who were selected from open auditions in Miami, New York City and Los Angeles.
Known for her booming voice, Barros performed songs such as "Open Arms" by Mariah Carey, and was among 20 finalists.
Other entertainment will include Round Lake Beach Elementary School second-graders performing a traditional Hispanic song "Los Pollitos" and former Round Lake High student Ivan Flores displaying an array of Latin-American dances.
Denia Valdivia, a parent of three children who attend District 116 schools, is among those in the community looking forward to the show and the fact it's close to home.
"It can become very expensive for my family and other families to travel to Chicago for a cultural event," Valdivia said. "I really appreciate Round Lake area schools for giving us the opportunity to attend a free family event where our children can display their special talents."
Another parent, Carmen Jacobo, said "Many Backgrounds, Many Stories" will help District 116 students show more pride in their Latino culture.