'To Make a Rainbow, We Need Each Other'

Lilo Gonzalez is “a superhero from El Salvador who sees music as a way of bringing hope, inspiration, justice, and peace to the world.” At least that’s how Lower School Principal Adele Paynter described him. On September 23, the Lower School came together for a special assembly to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, with Gonzalez as the special guest.

And he brought the fun. Lower Schoolers wiggled and clapped and, in some cases, sung along. Gonzalez spoke to the students about the “human rainbow,” the special result when diverse peoples and cultures come together—something that wouldn’t happen if we were all the same. “To make a rainbow,” Gonzalez said, “we need each other.”

Though Gonzalez mostly performed in English and Spanish, he also sang in French, Chinese, Swahili, and Nahuatl, an Aztec-derived language from El Salvador. While many of his songs were original, he also brought new linguistic twists to such classics as “If You’re Happy and You Know It” and “Skinamarinky Dinky Dink,” which brought the (virtual) house down. A song about the importance of washing your hands was particularly timely.

To continue the celebration, the 1st and 2nd graders met later that day with Lower School music teacher Matthew Stensrud and Lower School Spanish teacher Angela Ballesteros Gomez for a special bilingual session about monarch butterflies. After starting off with a caterpillar dance, during which students happily squirmed on their respective floors, Stensrud and Gomez read “Señorita Mariposa,” a story in English and Spanish that describes the Mexico-to-Canada migration that monarch butterflies take every year. You can watch it here (the password is #a?5N1i=).

The Lower School’s Hispanic Heritage Month fiesta will continue, culminating in a final assembly on October 14. Families of Latinx students are welcome to submit a video for the assembly by October 9. Of course, even when the month ends, the celebration of Hispanic culture—and all of the diverse cultures that make up the Sidwell Friends community—will continue throughout the year. Bienvenidos de nuevo a escuela!

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