Students at Sierra Schools of California celebrated National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15) with a classroom decoration contest. The friendly competition took place at the school level, with winning classrooms competing region-wide for the top honor. Teachers used the contest to help students learn about and honor the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

Students in each participating classroom decorated a large bulletin board or wall space paying homage to the Hispanic Heritage Month theme. Each decorated area had to include relevant and interesting facts, visuals, good use of color and design, and be well organized.

The theme-based student art project was designed to be fun and engaging for students, who were excited to see their work displayed in the classrooms, on doors and in hallways for all to enjoy.

“This exercise brought my students together to use critical thinking, creativity, and social skills while coming up with ideas for our project and implementing them together,” said Staci Stewart, special education teacher at the Sierra School of Sacramento, which was named regional winner in the contest. “My students researched traditions in Hispanic heritage and chose topics they wanted to learn more about, including sugar skulls, quinceañeras and macarenas. They also did research on historic Hispanic people,” Stewart said.

Sacramento’s class door decoration’s sign read “Mi corazón late en dos idiomas” which means “My heart beats in two languages”. It was surrounded by flags of countries with Spanish speaking languages. This represents all of these countries coming together with love and understanding and respecting each other’s traditions and cultures.