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Pound Ridge School Marks Hispanic Heritage Month

POUND RIDGE, N.Y. – In an effort to celebrate the world's many cultures and provide more diversity to the school environment, Pound Ridge Elementary School will mark October as Hispanic Heritage Month.

The celebration was the brain child of new principal Tim Gembka. He said the school has a number of Hispanic students and faculty members.

“It hasn’t been done here before. This is something I took from my past experiences,” he said. “And even if we didn’t have students of a Hispanic origin, we should be doing it to show students that it’s a big world out there. It’s about exposure. We have Black History Month, we have Women’s Month. It’s just a matter of if we are doing it well.”

Gembka said he previously worked at a school in Brooklyn that had a student body that was just 1 percent Caucasian. However, on St. Patrick’s Day, all the students would show up wearing green.

“In New York, on March 17, everybody is Irish,” he said. “They would identify with the cultural celebration of that day. That’s the idea behind Hispanic Heritage Month.”

Part of the month-long celebration will include a performance by Ballet Hispanico, a dance troupe headquartered in Manhattan, Ballet Hispanico's education and outreach division annually brings the group’s blend of dance and Hispanic culture to more than 25,000 public school students and teachers in New York and across the nation.

There will also be ongoing displays throughout the school. The library will be displaying books with Latino-experience themes and the art teachers will create a bulletin board featuring the works of renowned Hispanic artists.

Gembka said since it is Pound Ridge Elementary School’s first year undertaking such a project, the staff and facility are still feeling out the best way to celebrate Hispanic heritage.

“It’s a question of how do we build toward next year,” he said. “Next year, we do more.”

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