ARVIN, Calif. (KERO) — Students at Arvin High School brought a piece of their culture to the quad Friday afternoon, putting on a traditional mariachi performance to mark the start of Hispanic Heritage Month. Jorge Laris, mariachi instructor at Arvin High School, says the performance was part of the school's Mariachi and Folklore classes, where students not only learn about their culture but get to be fully immersed in it.
"It's just how to be more connected with your roots through music, and whether it's mariachi, banda, norteño, or anything, it's really just the emphasis on being more connected with the culture," said Laris, adding that Friday was the first time a performance has been directed to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.
Folklore and video production teacher Brenda Ruiz says there's a lot of culture behind Hispanic Heritage Month, so it's not uncommon to see celebrations being held differently.
"A lot of students don't know the traditions behind their culture and it's really nice to be able to show them and see how much they appreciate it," said Ruiz.
Ruiz says the school tries to ensure that they're teaching students multiple ways of expressing their culture, but still keep the concept of music. She says teaching students about mariachi was a no-brainer, since many kids grew up listening to it.
"I had a student who said her mom didn't believe her that she was doing folklorico, so she came out to our first show and she said, 'See Mom? I'm not just coming to school doing nothing. I'm involved,'" said Ruiz. "So the mom was very proud to see that her daughter was picking up on something that she had done as a child."
Laris says he's grateful to know that these students have the option to immerse themselves in their culture and family roots.
"Some of them were connecting with their grandparents, learning how to play the guitar. They had someone at home who knew how to play it," said Laris. "Other than that, I think we're just bridging the connection with students at home, too."
School organizers say they're pleased with this year's turnout and plan to create a similar event for next year. In the meantime, students are set to continue performing at different events.
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