Celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month

Bruna Horvath, Staff Writer

September 15 through October 15 marks National Hispanic Heritage Month. Since 1968, our country has taken this time to embrace and celebrate Hispanic heritage. A month where we can all take some time to learn about the diversity that makes up our multicultural nation. 

At Fossil, the Spanish teachers have a wide variety of different Hispanic heritages, and proudly share the parts of their culture that they’ll carry with them throughout their lives.

Nortier and her siblings. Photo Credit: M. Nortier

Maria Nortier teaches Spanish 2 and 3 this year and hosts Spanish Club. Nortier is extremely grateful for the opportunities she’s been given in America. Originally from Mexico, Nortier moved to the United States when she was 7 years old. For Nortier, National Hispanic Heritage month means appreciating her opportunities.


“I think specifically what it means to me is honoring where I come from, And really not forgetting where I’m from, just because I’ve had amazing opportunities to better my life, and have an education. That doesn’t mean that everybody does,” said Nortier.

Nortier wishes that more people in our country would be more kind and accepting of different cultures. 

Orignially an Aguirre, Nortier with her parents, brother and sister. Photo Credit: M. Nortier

“I feel that, that no matter what, where we come from, we just need to have that empathy and just be kind, be kind to everybody because we don’t know everybody’s story. We don’t know where they came from, what struggles [they] are going through,” said Nortier.

Being able to speak two languages because of her Hispanic heritage has been a part of Nortier’s identity that she thinks has made her a better person. 

“Being bilingual is one of the biggest gifts that I have ever been given in my life and I’m so happy that I can share that with my students and hopefully pass on their torch that becoming bilingual and being bilingual is the big one of the biggest investments that you can make in your life,” said Nortier.

Arroyo’s Senior Picture Photo Credit: Norma Arroyo

Norma Arroyo was born in Puerto Rico and moved to the United States when she was 10 years old. Arroyo has been teaching Spanish at Fossil for 17 years, and explains that the importance of National Hispanic Heritage for her comes from embracing your cultural identity.

Arroyo and her family visiting her Grandmother in Puerto Rico, one year after moving to the United States. Photo Credit: N. Arroyo

“I know who I am. I know where I come from, I know what my blend is… So that’s what it means to me. It means that when you’re from a different culture, you are defined,” said Arroyo. 

Arroyo believes that the struggles she has faced as a Hispanic woman has made her resilient and strong. Facing those struggles is what has made her realize the values of her opportunities.  

“I think I’m grateful for the opportunities because I think that we are shaped by our hardships, we’re shaped by the things that we have to confront and overcome,” said Arroyo. 

Rodon with family in Cuba.
Photo Credit: I. Rodon

Ivan Rodon, teaches Spanish 2 and 4 at Fossil. He was born in Cuba, and has lived in all parts of the globe. From Spain, to Russia, to the Netherlands, to the United States. Even after living in all these unique places, Cuba will always have a special place in Rodon’s heart. 

One of Rodon’s favorite things about his Hispanic culture is how extroverted the people are. 

“I love my culture. I love the music, I love the food. And I love that the Cuban culture is very open, people are extroverts…you’re friends with everybody, you know everybody in your neighborhood, everybody talks to you,” said Rodon. 

Rodon pictured with his guitar. Photo Credit: I. Rodon

Rodon believes that  there are a lot of people who have negative misconceptions about Cuban culture. 

“We talk loud. It doesn’t mean necessarily we are mean or we are angry, it’s just the way we talk,” said Rodon.