Families of St. John Bosco Catholic School flooded the campus’ multipurpose room during Thursday night’s seventh annual Evening of Hispanic Culture.

The two-hour long event, from 6 to 8 p.m., was designed to celebrate National Hispanic American Heritage Month, Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.

Carolina Avila, Spanish teacher at the school, said the community has always been very welcoming to the culture programs being taught at St. John Bosco and wanted an event where they could all come together.

“We try to bring in different pieces of the culture and we always have a good turnout,” she said.

Avila noted that not only do students look forward to the event, but parents love attending and lending a helping hand with the evening’s preparations.

“We may be different in our culture or language, but we are all one people. We all do the same things and we are all about food, community, and taking care of one another,” Avila said.

A variety of Mexican music was played throughout the night, which could be heard throughout the campus.

Inside the multipurpose room, parents and students chatted while feasting on some authentic Mexican cuisine.

The students of St. John Bosco Catholic School also created their own artwork, celebrating National Hispanic American Heritage Month, that was on display for the attendees.

The food, which not only included chips and salsa, but an assortment of platters consisting of ground beef tacos, enchiladas, homemade guacamole, beans, rice and more, was all provided by parents.

Spanish instructor Erminia Olivas said the event is not only to celebrate Hispanic culture, but to bring together varieties of cultures together under one roof.

“As Catholics we’re taught to love one another and God made this beautiful world with all different cultures and languages, so we celebrate diversity here.” she said. “I think that’s what’s so beautiful about this… the children were so excited to come and were talking about it for weeks and weeks.”

Olivas said preparations for the event begin during the beginning of the school year, where she gives her students a brief background of National Hispanic American Heritage Month, and send out reminders to parents about the event through the school’s newsletters.

“I couldn’t do this without the parents’ support, without the administration’s support, we are very blessed to have them,” Olivas said.

If the plethora of food wasn’t reason enough to attend the Evening of Hispanic Culture, midway through the event there was a Floklorico performance by Floklor y Cultura Mexicana, where dancers performed traditional dance numbers such as the Vera Cruz and the Jalisco.

Floklor y Cultura Mexicana, conducted by dance instructor Francis Vacaneri, is a group from the town of Guadalupe that has been teaching young girls how to dance Floklorico for more than 30 years.

Vacaneri introduced the dancers before their first performance, called the Azteca, where they honor the upcoming All Saints’ Day.

Students were seated, eyes glued to the dancers as they twirled in vibrant-colored dresses throughout the performances.

The students also joined in on the fun during the performance finale, where they were brought up and taught basic Floklorico 101 dance routines as their parents cheered them on.

For more information about St. John Bosco Catholic School, visit www.sjbosco.org.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or dochoa@ahwatukee.com.

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