Manor students celebrate tradition during Hispanic Heritage Festival

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MANOR, Texas (KXAN) — Students in Manor ISD put final touches on performances and displays Tuesday ahead of the district’s 2nd annual Hispanic Heritage Festival happening Tuesday evening.

The cultural celebration follows a month of projects and preparation around the district, from elementary to high school, all focused on tradition. It will feature performances, poetry, art, food and other

“We had a lot of people in our community that asked for it. They wanted our culture to be featured very prominently in our district,” said Meredith Roddy, Manor ISD’s multilingual programming director.

Last year’s event was so successful, she added, the district is holding this year’s celebration at a bigger venue.

The Manor Middle School mariachi class performs at the district’s first Hispanic Heritage Festival in 2018. (Photo Courtesy: Manor ISD)

Monday, the Manor Middle School mariachi class practiced a handful of songs for a performance at the festival. The large group played at the event last year, too.

“It’s more exciting,” said Daniel Perez, an 8th-grader who plays violin in the the group. “More energy in mariachi.”

Some students, like Perez, play in other bands at the school, too, but appreciate the connection to their family traditions the mariachi class provides.

“I liked the way mariachi sounded, and it was a way to get closer to my culture,” said Itzel Luna, another 8th-grade violinist in the class. Unlike Perez, she learned her instrument specifically to play in the group.

“Most of my family is from Mexico, and I like Mexican music,” Melanie Frausto, a vihuela player in the ensemble, said.

The three students, all of whom played at last year’s festival, grew up listening to mariachi bands and feel more connected to their families and cultures by playing with the group.

While the festival is still in its infancy, celebrating Hispanic heritage is nothing new in Manor ISD. The district is 65 percent Hispanic, and schools have long recognized important cultural contributions through individual events.

A student smiles for a photo at Manor ISD’s first Hispanic Heritage Festival in 2018. (Photo Courtesy: Manor ISD)

Teachers across the district decorate their doors with Hispanic themes and compete for the best decorations. Classes during the month leading up to the festival focus on Hispanic leaders through history.

Tuesday’s event is the culmination, the district says, of years of celebrating the cultural diversity that runs through central Texas.

The public is invited to the free event, from 6:30-8 p.m. at the Manor High School Performing Arts Center. Doors open at 6.

Students perform on stage at Manor ISD’s first Hispanic Heritage Festival in 2018. (Photo Courtesy: Manor ISD)

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