First Hispanic Heritage Month gala to be held Oct. 14

To celebrate the culture and focus on Hispanic student organizations, students, faculty and community members, the Hispanic Heritage Month gala will take place Oct. 14 in Comanche Suites.

Ruby Arriaga, coordinator of student activities and leader of the Hispanic Heritage Month committee, said some students brought up the idea during one of the Hispanic Heritage Month committee meetings.

“I said, ‘well let’s try it’,” Arriaga said. “This is the first time we have done it so it’s new.”

The Office of Student Development and Orientation and other organizations will fund the banquet. The budget is up to $500, but is expected to rise with the increase in RSVPs, with the main cost being food. They anticipate about 50 to 75 people to attend.

The Office of Student Development and Orientation will recognize organizations and students at the banquet by giving out three awards — Outstanding Organization Award and Raising Latino/Latina Award, which goes to the organization or student who has demonstrated leadership in academics and community, and Si Se Puede Award, which is given to faculty or community member that encourages students to achieve their dreams.

Stephanie Robles, principal of Barwise Junior High School and active community leader, is scheduled to share her story about her journey of becoming a principal.

Arriaga said it’s important for students to attend because it is the first one.

“It’s good for the students to hear how [Robles] persevered and how she went through the hard times to go up in the ranks,” Arriaga said.

She said it is also important to come together as a community and have some fun.

Cynthia Hubbard, marketing sophomore, Sigma Lambda Alpha president and secretary of Organization of Hispanic Students, said, “I’m excited to give students a reason to dress up and look overly nice and at the same time celebrating many different cultures and traditions.”

Hubbard said she hopes they could get many students to attend, especially because of the increase in Hispanic students this semester.

“It’s important that students attend so they can have a sense of home and community and that they aren’t the only Hispanics here,” Hubbard said, “As for the non Hispanic students, I’ve always been an advocate for learning and respecting others’ cultures so it gives others a chance to learn about the Hispanic culture.”

Other students agreed with Hubbard.

Liliana Cruz, psychology sophomore and OHS vice president, said, “I’m extremely excited. It’s important and a good way of bringing the Hispanic students together. You don’t usually see many Hispanic students around even though we make up around 22 percent of the student population.”