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A Taste of Latin America

A taste of Latin America
Sixty percent of the student population at Collegiate is Hispanic. This is one of the reasons two senior scholars, Ashley and Dariela, wanted to create an event that would celebrate Hispanic and Latinx culture.

On November 7, Collegiate hosted A Taste of Latin America, a first time, student-led event for scholars and faculty highlighting food and dancing from different Latin American countries.

“We were in class back in September, which is Hispanic Heritage Month, and we were talking about how we were feeling underrepresented. We decided to do something about it. We thought, 'How about a festival?'” The two scholars immediately got to work.
 
Two scholars wanted to create an event that brought together their Collegiate community to celebrate Latin American culture.
 
Ashley and Dariela’s main goal was to create an inclusive event where anyone who attended could rejoice in Latin American culture as a community. They knew that combining dancing and food was a great way to bring people of all cultures together.

Performances were given by local traditional Hispanic dance groups, parents provided different home-cooked Latin American dishes, and a pair of salsa teachers from the Rumba Room even came to get all the attendees dancing. 

“I heard some parents say it reminded them of their time in Mexico. It’s really nice when you get to give your parents and your Hispanic community a taste of what they miss from home,” Ashley said as she reflected.

The night was definitely a success - so much so that Ashley and Dariela were shocked to see that there were over 350 attendees present and everyone truly enjoyed the event.

“I was so excited I didn’t even eat! It was the hardest thing I think I’ve done but the end result was worth it. It was rewarding to see everyone’s faces. Their happiness brought me happiness.” Dariela explained.

Ashley went on to say, “It was rewarding to see our hard work and all of the support we had come to fruition and to see everyone really just enjoying themselves. Any little issues we had come up during the event ultimately resolved themselves. I even started dancing and I never dance! I think this event was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made.”
 
"It was rewarding to see our hard work and all of the support we had come to fruition and to see everyone really just enjoying themselves." - Ashley L.
 
Ashley and Dariela both believe it is important for Collegiate’s Hispanic scholars to see their own cultures represented in their day-to-day lives. They also believe it is important to invite people of other cultures into learning about their culture. 
 
Ashley said, “I think that since one of our Core Values is Respect, we really want to amplify that Core Value by showing respect to who we are. Even though we are Collegiate scholars, and that’s a unifying factor, at the end of the day we do have our individual identities that we experience at home and in the world.”
 
These seniors hope one of their lasting legacies at Collegiate is an annual celebration of the Latin American culture.
 
Dariela explained, “I’m glad that it happened and that I was able to be part of it. I will try my best to be here whenever it happens again. I want younger scholars to see their culture celebrated and to be a part of a space where people are awed by the beauty of it. I want to impact them so they can go on to impact others.”