Students and staff who produced and performed in the Hispanic Heritage program at Red Bank Regional High School included, back row, left to right: Guadalupe Rodriguez, Brandon Trani, Guadalupe Luna, Mizani DelValle, Mya Nunnally, Multi Cultural Club Co- Advisor Odilia Lligui. Front row, left to right: RBR Principal Risa Clay, Tyler Brunson, Emily Lugos, Skyler (Kyle) Eber, Yaritza Ortega. Not pictured is Multi-Cultural Club Advisor Karina Tedeschi.
Press release from Red Bank Regional High School
Every October, the Red Bank Regional High School community looks forward to its multi-cultural club’s celebration of Hispanic Heritage. The school recognizes the many countries that compose the Hispanic American experience for both their uniqueness and rich culture, which is also commemorated with performances by the school’s Visual and Performing Arts students.
This year, RBR senior Guadalupe Luna introduced the event in Spanish (translated into English by Principal Risa Clay), stating, “Most Hispanic and Latinos share one significant item, a common passion for food. To us food represents more than a simple dish. It represents family, sharing and love.”
Mr. Boga’s Guitar majors and String Ensemble were among the RBR Visual and Performing Arts students who celebrated Hispanic History month with music, dance and poetry, as they contributed a lively arrangement of “La Bamba.”
The multi-cultural club members highlighted many celebrated chefs from throughout the Hispanic/Latino world, including such icons as Alex Garcia of Cuba, Joes Enrique of Puerto Rico, Lorena Garcia of Venezuela, Harry Sasson of Columbia, and others. All have brought world attention to their countries’ special aromas, favors and delectable dishes. Fulfilling that same mission, special guest speaker Marita Lynn (proprietor of the critically acclaimed Peruvian restaurant Runa on Monmouth Street) told the student body of her aspirations and pursuit of the American dream.
Ms. Lynn emigrated to America with her parents and pursued her passion for food, graduating from the prestigious Culinary Institute of NY with honors, and going on to train and work with very highly acclaimed restaurants in New York City and New Jersey. She launched a very successful catering business, and in 2014 opened her own restaurant.
“It wasn’t easy opening a business…the road was difficult, but I am a persistent person who knew what I wanted to do,” she told the RBR students “I am here to tell you to always follow your dreams, even if people discourage you. If it gets the fiery side of you and burns you, go for it!”
Passionate performances were also offered during the assembly by RBR’s creative writing poets Alex Sosa and Grace Cody, who recited their poem “Mixed In” on growing up American in an immigrant family. Seniors Emily Lugos and Mya Nunnelly performed their piece, “Let’s Trump Racism,” a powerful commentary on the political rancor of the current presidential election and its perception by minority youth, An excerpt from the piece, which drew fervent applause from the audience, follows:
You must consider this when you say
The Mexican Government is forcing their most unwanted people into the United States
When my immigrant mother fought for my life
With the calluses on her hands
She tells me every day
Tienes que hacer todo lo que puedes
Tienes que trabajar lo más duro que puedas
You have to do everything you can.
You have to work as hard as you can.
Red Bank Regional’s dance majors performed two numbers to Latin melodies, influenced by the salsa, cha-cha, rumba, flamenco and tango. Many members of the RBR Staff participated in the project, through a special video that pictured them dancing to Victor Manuelle’s “Que Suenen los Tambores” throughout RBR’s hallways and classrooms (the video can be viewed here). More dancing in the aisles ensued, as the event concluded with a spirited rendition of the traditional “La Bamba,” by the combined strings ensemble and the debuting Guitar majors.