Virtual Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration

Esteemed Guests and Community Gather for Virtual Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration
Posted on 10/09/2020
Alexandria Ayala

The School District of Palm Beach County hosted its newest board member, and an astronaut, during an event on October 8 as part of its annual celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month. The event also brought together District students and staff, community leaders, and business partners.

Due to the pandemic, the event took place online in virtual mode, with NASA astronaut Jose Hernandez delivering the keynote address, an inspiring presentation about his personal journey and space exploration. Hernandez’ experience includes serving as the flight engineer on a 14-day mission in 2009 aboard Space Shuttle Discovery.

Jose Hernandez“I am very proud to be able to represent our Latino community. My father empowered me to be an astronaut through his recipe of success, so hopefully I am a positive model to follow,” Hernandez said. “When I give these talks, I try to offer advice on perseverance. My hope is that a young student hears me speak and says to themselves that he looks just like me, he speaks just like me, he comes from the same type of background I come from, so if he was able to do it why can't I do the same.”

District 2 school board member Alexandria Ayala attended as the special guest. Ayala is set to be sworn in on November 17, at which time she will be the first Latina elected to the Palm Beach County School Board.

“Today we gather to celebrate the significant contributions and accomplishments of our people, while recognizing the important role of education in our stories,” Ayala said during the event. “The pursuit of education and a brighter future is the starting point to lay a foundation for many of our collective experiences here tonight.”

Several accomplished current and former District students were also featured, along with a performance by a group of dancers from Capoeira Karkara, which bills itself as the premier capoeira studio in Palm Beach County. Their unique Brazilian martial art form combines self-defense and fighting techniques with dance, acrobatics, music, and culture.

“It was incredible to make history with hosting a first ever Virtual Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration,” said Patricia Trejo, the Administrative Program Planner in the District’s Office of African, African American, Latino, Holocaust, and Gender Studies.

“We had many viewers from across the nation and internationally that joined and celebrated National Hispanic Heritage Month with us,” Trejo said. “Our keynote speaker left us with an inspirational message of never giving up, much-needed uplifting words during this unprecedented, challenging time. What an amazing, memorable cultural experience for our students and school community.”

Hispanic Heritage Month - Jose Hernandez’, NASA Astronaut - Alexandria Ayala, School Board Member  - elect, District 2 - Special thanks to thoughtexchange & Educational Technology - The School District of Palm Beach County

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