New Tech High celebrates Mexican Independence Day

Event part of Latino Heritage Month through mid-October
2013-09-16T16:38:00Z 2013-09-16T16:48:13Z New Tech High celebrates Mexican Independence DayISABELLE DILLS Napa Valley Register
September 16, 2013 4:38 pm  • 

The Mexican flag flew alongside the American flag in front of Napa’s New Technology High School on Monday in celebration of Mexico’s day of independence.

Balloons and banners of red, white and green decorated the school. The colors of Mexico’s flag also adorned the tables in the lunchroom and outdoor patio. A Mexican singer and dancers from Ballet Folklorico performed for the students, who ate lunches of carne asada, chicken, beans and rice and Mexican pastries.

Monday’s festivities were organized by seven New Tech students who wanted to make Mexican Independence Day a schoolwide event.

“We wanted to make it big, and go all out,” student Sandra Correa-Saenz, 16, said. “We want to show them that we’re rich in culture.”

The Mexican War of Independence began Sept. 16, 1810, when a Catholic priest called for the end of Spanish rule, and a peasant army marched its way to Mexico City. Unlike Cinco de Mayo (which celebrates Mexico’s victory in a battle with French invaders), Mexican Independence Day is rarely — if ever — recognized by the schools, according to the New Tech students.

Correa-Saenz credited school board member Carlos Hagedorn with inspiring her activism and teaching her that it’s “OK to be Mexican in an American community.”

Hagedorn, who is also a professor of Chicano studies at Napa Valley College, taught Correa-Saenz in a class over the summer. He was one of three Napa Valley Unified School District board members who attended Monday’s festivities.

“It’s rewarding to see a former student — who’s still in high school — taking the lead,” Hagedorn said. “She’s taking what she learned in class into the community.”

Approximately 40 percent of students at New Technology High School are Latino. Districtwide, the number of Latino students is more than 50 percent, according to data from the California Department of Education.

On Monday, New Tech students lined up along the patio for Mexican food. During the singing and dancing performances, a few people walking along Main Street stopped to watch.

School board member Frances Ortiz-Chavez said she hoped the celebration at New Tech would be replicated in other local schools.

While such events are sometimes criticized for promoting “separation” between different ethnicities, school board member Jose Hurtado said he was proud that New Tech was willing and able to celebrate diversity.

“And who better to celebrate that diversity than our children?” Hurtado said.

New Tech’s celebration is one of many events taking place Sept. 15 through Oct. 15 in honor of Napa Valley’s Latino Heritage Month. Events will include music, arts, food, films and other festivities celebrating Latino cultures from around the world.

Although this is only the second such celebration in Napa, Latino Heritage Month is celebrated nationwide. President Lyndon B. Johnson first recognized “Hispanic Heritage Week” in 1968. President Reagan expanded the observation to one month, and every successive president has continued that tradition.

The national celebration kicks off mid-September because Sept. 15 is the date on which a variety of Latin American countries achieved independence in 1821.

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(11) Comments

  1. michaelholcomb
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    michaelholcomb - September 16, 2013 6:34 pm
    I am usually Downtown Napa these days for a couple of hours picking up trash on Main Street, First Street Third Street, Second Street and Brown Street. When an event is held Downtown on one of the Streets, I can see the aftermath of such event. The Arts and Crafts Fair Downtown left more trash than I have ever seen from any group, it was terrible, and seemed as if many, not all, but many, could not care less who cleaned up after them.

    The exact opposite was true with the Mexican Independence Day Celebration. It was if it never happened, in fact it was the cleanest I have ever seen it on a Monday after any event. I appreciate how responsible that group of people were who put on that event and how much they care about their City.

    Thank You for being a large part of our community and thank you for caring about Downtown and how it looks.

    Mike Holcomb
  2. ROSEG1
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    ROSEG1 - September 17, 2013 7:00 am
    Why is it we celebrate more Mexican stuff more than we our own AMERICAN, ITALIAN ETC THIS IS NOT RIGHT.
  3. Oldtimenapan
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    Oldtimenapan - September 17, 2013 7:19 am
    It always seems odd to me that people insist on celebrating a culture they are so anxious to leave, if this wasn't true, immigration wouldn't be such a big deal because they would all be staying in the country they are always wanting to celebrate instead of the country that is giving them the new opportunities.
  4. glenroy
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    glenroy - September 17, 2013 8:04 am
    Sad...not celebrating ones heritage....leaving a pigs mess excuse for that….
  5. jojogcia
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    jojogcia - September 17, 2013 1:26 pm
    Hi Everyone, I am a Student at New Technology High school and reading these negative comments makes me EXTREMELY upset. Im sure that my fellow peers who put this event together feel HORRIBLE about it as well because they worked really hard to put it all together. Its really sad and depressing how I am growing up in a community where ADULTS are setting up the example to be DISRESPECTFUL and IGNORANT.

    I am really glad that I attend such an AMAZING school where since Freshman year New Tech's teachers and staff teach us how to be RESPECTFUL, TRUSTWORTHY, AND RESPONSIBLE and grow upon and learn from other cultures because they are ALL beautiful and Unique in their own little way. I am so sorry if our Mexican Independence day celebration bothered any of you, but over all I can tell that A LOT of people enjoyed it.

  6. Andreac
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    Andreac - September 17, 2013 3:08 pm
    Hello, I am an alumni of New Tech. For the people who where against the celebration, did you even read the article? "40 percent of students at New Technology High School are LATINO. District wide, the number of Latino students is more than 50 PERCENT. That is a HUGE influence. From my experience at New Tech there wasn't nearly as many people who they themselves, or family members, came from China, Italy, India that surpassed the amount of people from Mexico. It doesn't mean we don't recognized and celebrate their heritage on a smaller scale. I have seen small little Italian parties been thrown out in class, but these influences do make a huge effect. As a Mexican American myself, from all of the hate from immigration, it's a good feeling to know that there are people who still want to acknowledge us as people. And from the previous comment, I was also told by many people, Mexican or not, they still loved the the celebration.
  7. MyWrites
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    MyWrites - September 17, 2013 7:43 pm
    Well jojo not all adults in this community act disrespectful and are ignorant. But many of them are afraid of change and find it easier to profile people who think or look different.

    If you review these commentaries often, you will discover a few here who have very intolerant and misguided views. They are vocal, think they are smarter than everyone else, conservative, consider themselves patriots, not interested in compromise, dislike our federal government, consider themselves good religious people and self-reliant (as opposed to those who can only exist on federal/state handouts), they like their guns, believe Trayvon Martin deserved what he got, they dislike public education and loath the current President of the United States. You will find them hanging out in front of the Trancas Post Office with altered photos that show Obama as Hitler, they only watch FOX News and they completely trust Rush Limbaugh.

    Take politics seriously, vote and don't let these people hold office.
  8. Oldtimenapan
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    Oldtimenapan - September 17, 2013 8:06 pm
    You don't seem to get it. Why don't you celebrate this country.?
  9. MyWrites
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    MyWrites - September 18, 2013 1:50 pm
    OT Napan: Oldtimenapan - "You don't seem to get it. Why don't you celebrate this country?"

    But actually we do! The vast number of holidays for this country celebrate those things we hold dear. Being independent is one of them and this nation has worked hard (sometimes too hard) to encourage others to throw off their oppressors much as we did in our revolution. So the celebration of Independence seems appropriate for all free people regardless of nation - it called freedom.

    So OTN how do you feel about our national celebration of Martin Luther King's birthday?
  10. jojogcia
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    jojogcia - September 18, 2013 7:11 pm
    I am Sorry, I meant SOME adults.
  11. Oldtimenapan
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    Oldtimenapan - September 19, 2013 7:41 am
    I like it, but it celebrates something from our country. By the way both my parents
    We're immigrants and we celebrated our culture among ourselves, if I would have tried to march down the street with another country's flag my folks would have been pretty upset and say I was disrespectful. It's not about bigotry or anything else, it's more like support this country.
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