FARMINGTON — Students from schools throughout the Farmington Municipal School District performed songs and dances at the Taurano-Chrisman Theater Thursday night to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month.
First recognized in 1988, Hispanic Heritage Month runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.
Thursday's event included students from Apache, Bluffview, Ladera, Northeast and McCormick and other Farmignton elementary schools, as well as Heights, Hermosa and Mesa View middle schools and Piedra Vista High School.
Raul Oros and Juan Hinojos were two of the Hermosa students who danced during the talent show on Thursday night. They said it took them two or three weeks to learn the dance.
"We didn't really want to do it at first," Oros said.
But, eventually, the two friends decided to learn the dance.
Karen Miramontes-Trevizo, another Hermosa student, decided to participate in the show because she loves to dance. She is also a Zumba instructor.
"I wanted to celebrate our culture," Miramontes-Trevizo said.
Not all of the performances were dances. Celeste Rudolfo, another Hermosa student, sang "Barca de Oro," a popular festival song in Mexico. The song originated in Spain and was sung by the sailors.
"It's about someone leaving someone," she said.
She said her parents helped her choose it, and she liked its tune.
Her parents also attended the talent show to watch her and her sister, Isabela, perform. Isabela Rudolfo performed with Ladera Elementary School.
Isabela and Celeste Rudolfo's mother, Maria, moved to Farmington from Durango, Mexico, around 15 years ago to join her husband, Emeterio Rudolfo, who grew up in Albuquerque. Maria Rudolfo later became a U.S. citizen.
"They like to keep our culture alive with music," Celeste Rudolfo said.
The sisters say their family speaks Spanish at home and also keeps the culture alive through food and religion.
Emeterio Rudolfo said the Hispanic culture is similar to other cultures.
"Cultures share different values," Maria Rudolfo said.
She explained that certain values, like family, are universal throughout cultures.
While Maria Rudolfo enjoys living in Farmington, she said she misses Mexico and described her life as having "my heart in both places."
The students who performed during the talent show entered the theater with a respect of their culture and an understanding of the importance of Hispanic Heritage Month.
"It helps us keep our culture together," said Luisita Dominguez, a Piedra Vista High School student. "It reminds us of our past.
Dominguez sang "Te Dejo en Libertad" as a duet with her friend.
The talent show helps the children learn to read, write and speak Spanish and builds on what the students already know, said Sylvia Lambson, who works as the education assistant in McCormick Elementary School's Spanish bilingual program.
Lambson said family is one of the important parts of Hispanic culture.
This importance of family was reflected in the large number of parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents and great-grandparents who crowded into the theater.
Estefania Ortiz attended to watch her sister, Noelia, sing.
Ortiz said she thinks Hispanic Heritage Month is important because the culture is part of who they are.
"It's something that stays with you," Ortiz said.