District 56 celebrates Hispanic culture with community

  • Natalie Baeza, 5 months, is dressed in her flamenco outfit and is held by her aunt Mary Baeza on Thursday as Gurnee School District 56 hosts Hispanic Heritage Celebration at Prairie Trail School in Wadsworth. Natalie's mother, Murphy, smiling at right background, is a third-grade teacher in the district.

      Natalie Baeza, 5 months, is dressed in her flamenco outfit and is held by her aunt Mary Baeza on Thursday as Gurnee School District 56 hosts Hispanic Heritage Celebration at Prairie Trail School in Wadsworth. Natalie's mother, Murphy, smiling at right background, is a third-grade teacher in the district. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • The cafeteria serves tacos Thursday during the Gurnee School District 56 Hispanic Heritage Celebration at Prairie Trail School in Wadsworth.

      The cafeteria serves tacos Thursday during the Gurnee School District 56 Hispanic Heritage Celebration at Prairie Trail School in Wadsworth. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Boys play soccer in the gymnasium Thursday during the Gurnee School District 56 Hispanic Heritage Celebration at Prairie Trail School in Wadsworth.

      Boys play soccer in the gymnasium Thursday during the Gurnee School District 56 Hispanic Heritage Celebration at Prairie Trail School in Wadsworth. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Student artwork was part of Thursday's Hispanic Heritage Celebration at Prairie Trail School in Wadsworth.

      Student artwork was part of Thursday's Hispanic Heritage Celebration at Prairie Trail School in Wadsworth. John Starks | Staff Photographer

  • Students worked on research projects to display Thursday at the Gurnee School District 56 Hispanic Heritage Celebration at Prairie Trail School in Wadsworth.

      Students worked on research projects to display Thursday at the Gurnee School District 56 Hispanic Heritage Celebration at Prairie Trail School in Wadsworth. John Starks | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 10/10/2019 9:32 PM

The four schools that make up Gurnee School District 56 hosted a Hispanic Heritage Celebration on Thursday night at Prairie Trail School in Wadsworth.

Of the 2,000 students in the K-8 district, 47% are Hispanic. For the last few years, students would study Hispanic culture and put on a short program in the cafeteria at the end of the unit.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

But this year, businesses and organizations including Abbott Labs, the Navy and Carthage College set up information tables in the main hallway of the school for a 90-minute celebration to help families and community members better understand Hispanic culture.

"This is our brainchild involving the community," Maria Moreano, assistant principal at River Trails Elementary in Gurnee, said as families bumped elbows walking through the crowded hallways. "Yeah, it's full. It's great."

The evening included live music, soccer games in the gymnasium, free tacos in the cafeteria and schoolwide displays of student research projects and artwork.

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