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Gregory Elementary Celebrates Hispanic Heritage with School-Wide Exhibition

WEST ORANGE, NJ – Gregory Elementary School celebrated the completion of its five-week unit of study on Hispanic Heritage with a school-wide exhibit on Oct. 26.

Parents, students, and faculty turned out for an evening full of color, culture, and information. It was evident from the moment visitors walked into the building that students had put their hearts and souls into their projects.

“As part of our annual acknowledgment for Hispanic Heritage month, each grade level team built a unit of study that focuses on a Hispanic country, region, or commonwealth,” began Principal Makeida Hewitt.

Each grade level chose the following: 

Kindergarten: Spain

First Grade: Peru

Second Grade: Venezuela 

Third Grade: Mexico

Fourth Grade: Colombia 

Fifth Grade: Each homeroom covered an island in the Caribbean.

  • Cuba
  • Puerto Rico
  • Dominican Republic 

“To highlight all of the work that the students have done, we showcased projects in the hallways so that our parents could engage in a gallery walk around the building for a Night at the Museum,” explained Hewitt. 

“As a bonus, our school Diversity Committee developed hands-on activities for students and parents to create together,” she added.

Activities included: 

  • Peruvian Llamas accompanied by a read-aloud "Maria Had a Little Llama" 
  • Caribbean and Latin Maracas
  • Mexican Aztec Suns
  • Puerto Rican Paper Bag Puppet accompanied by a read aloud "The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpre" 
  • Guatemalan Worry Dolls

To add a fun informational element to the evening, the team developed a trivia competition via Kahoot, replete with prizes. Each day during Hispanic Heritage month, students read one fun fact each morning during announcements and students were told to pay special attention to them to prepare them for the trivia challenge. To pay homage to the beloved sport of futbol, the Physical Education department also set up soccer shoots in the gym.

“It was nice to see the school community spending time together and enjoying each other's company,” commented Hewitt.  

“To make the night a warm and loving community event that accentuates the Hispanic culture for all to enjoy, I scheduled Benj's Food Truck and a live mariachi band to keep everything festive and lively,” said Hewitt, “and Gregory School PTA joined us in having a craft table in the cafeteria where students and families colored and decorated Panamanian molas," she commented. 

“It has been a long time since we've had an organized event by the Gregory faculty.  Seeing the students' smiles and watching them take part in learning and life experiences that they've missed out on over the last few years due to the pandemic brought tears to my eyes. It is beginning to feel like we are back home again,” Hewitt concluded.



Principal Makeida Hewitt with students





Cynthia Cumming
Oct. 30, 2022