National Hispanic Heritage Month: September 15 – October 15

Hispanic Heritage Month PSA by Interim Superintendent Cintia Johnson

Each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15 to October 15, by celebrating the histories, cultures and contributions of Americans whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America. The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988.

Hispanic Heritage Month Calendar

2019 Latinx Student Honorees

The School Board is proud to present the annual Latinx student recognition event which highlights eight high school students chosen by their principals for their character, leadership and outstanding successes in school and life. This year’s recognition will take place at the School Board meeting on Sept. 19 at 7:00 p.m.

Arlington Career Center: Angel Martinez Mejia

Career Center staff unanimously nominated Angel Martinez for this award. He is often called the “angel” of the Career Center for his kindness and care for others. Last year Angel organized a group of HILT English Learner (EL) students to delivery pizza to homeless people in DC. He took the time to talk to several individuals on the streets in DC and felt in his heart to use his hard-earned money to purchase pizza and deliver it to them in person. He writes words of encouragement on the message board to uplift our community. He cares deeply for his friends and calls them when they are not in school. Now in his third year in the EL program, he has gained a lot of confidence, passed English over summer school and is now on track to graduate at the end of this school year.
– Margaret Chung, Principal
Arlington Career Center

Arlington Community High School: Kelyn Bernal Grijalva

It is with great pleasure that we nominate Kelyn Bernal Grijalva as the Arlington Community High School Hispanic Heritage Student Leader of the Year.  Kelyn exemplifies the resilience, determination, and devotion to learning that makes her an exemplary student and role model for others. She embraces opportunities to learn and grow: she is an active leader of our school’s community service Key Club, she was a finalist in our school’s Poetry Out Loud contest, she works long hours at night and weekends but rarely misses a day of class. In spite of arriving in the U.S. as a beginning English learner with gaps in her educational background, she has met all the competencies to exit the EL program in three years and is now within a few credits of graduation.   These are just a few examples of her outstanding drive and character, which inspire all who know her. Kelyn richly deserves to be recognized as an impressive student leader of the year.
-Dr. Barbara A. Thompson, Principal
Arlington Community High School

H-B Woodlawn: Christopher Lopez

Chris Lopez has attended H-B Woodlawn since the 6th grade and has been a significant contributor to many aspects of our school community. He is an outstanding student, excelling in many different advanced placement (AP) courses and scoring well on the associated exams. This year Chris is taking five AP classes as well as Multivariable Calculus. Chris is a standout member of our Ultimate Frisbee team – committing significant amounts of time to practice and tournaments. He is also in the H-B Woodlawn Jazz Band and has been a part of our music program throughout his time here. Chris has taken advantage of every opportunity presented to him here at H-B Woodlawn!
-Casey Robinson, Principal
H-B Woodlawn Secondary Program

Langston Continuation Program: Pedro Tobar

Pedro Tobar was born in Guatemala. He moved to the United States approximately 4 years ago. When he arrived to Arlington, he was enrolled in Yorktown High School. However, during the summer, he advocated to be transferred to Langston, so he can graduate this year. Pedro has demonstrated great motivation towards his education. He is punctual, honest, organized, and a hard worker. Pedro is the first student to enter the classroom every day and is always ready to learn. In addition, he is a team player and is often the leader when working in groups. Pedro enjoys to play soccer and enjoys all types of work
– Cleveland James, Administrator
Langston High School Continuation Program

New Directions: Julissa Ascencio

New Directions has chosen Julissa Ascencio to receive this year’s Hispanic Heritage Award.  Julissa’s path to this award was not the same as other students you may read about. Although she faced some personal challenges, one by one she is overcoming them to be the amazing young woman that she is today. Julissa is currently taking dual-enrolled English and will earn six college credits in the first semester of this school year. Although several students have earned college credits in career and technical education classes, Julissa will be the first New Directions student to earn college credit in English 111-112. Julissa loves animals and has completed the Veterinary Science and Advanced Animal Science classes at the Career Center.  Through the support of her family, the support of New Directions, and her willingness to learn and grow, Julissa will graduate in June 2020 with an advanced diploma. She plans to be the first in her family to go to college and will enter the Pathway Program at NOVA. She plans to earn an Associate Degree in Science, and then transfer to a university. Julissa’s future is bright and we can’t wait to see what the future holds.
– Chip Bonar, Administrator
New Directions

Wakefield: Luis Campos

Luis Campos has a 3.5 GPA, is taking 3 Advanced Placement (AP) classes this year and is working on his AP Capstone Diploma. He is part of the Wakefield Young Democrats Club, the marching/symphonic band, the soccer team, chorus and Cohort. I am not sure how this young man juggles all of what he does, but he seems to accomplish each thing he does with much ease. He provides consistent leadership, fresh ideas, enthusiasm and most of all friendship. More than a team player, Luis leads by example. His generous nature and caring intellect are inspiring. Luis is a true Wakefield Warrior, responsible, resilient and willing to forge relationships across cultures.
-Chris Willmore, Principal
Wakefield High School

Washington-Liberty: Anthony Reyes

This year Washington-Liberty High School recognizes Senior Anthony Reyes as our Hispanic/Latino Student Leader. When asked to represent the school in any activity, he always does it with a smile. Anthony has always exhibited the characteristics of a student who contributes to school life in positive ways. Anthony’s contributions to Washington-Liberty are significant. He assumes a role as a student leader among his classmates and sets out to enact positive change. His teachers and peers have come to know Anthony as a leader. Anthony represented his community and school this summer as a player for the FIBA World Cup International Basketball Championships in El Salvador.  I have known Anthony for four years and frequently see him in the hallways between classes and before and after school.  I cannot remember a single time Anthony didn’t say hello to me.  He is a well-mannered, positive, conscientious, and most of all, an all-around nice guy.
-Gregg Robertson, Principal
Washington-Lee High School

Yorktown: Ingrid Alfaro Portillo

Ingrid started high school in EL 2 and will graduate this year having taken four Advanced Placement courses and earning a 3.4 GPA. She is driven to succeed in school on top of working at a local diner in Arlington. She has taken advantage of all the college-bound programs we have offered her at Yorktown and is driven to attend a four-year university next year. Ingrid attended the Virginia Tech college summer program in Blacksburg and the Edu-Futuro Emerging Leaders Program at Marymount University. She serves as vice president of Yorktown’s Latinas Leading Tomorrow club and as a new student mentor, assisting new EL students get comfortable at Yorktown.
-Bridget Loft, Principal
Yorktown High School