Hispanic Heritage Month festivities bring employees and students together

Jacksonville District
Published Nov. 4, 2014

After a month-long observance of Hispanic Heritage Month (HHM), Jacksonville District held a closing ceremony at its downtown office, Oct. 7. The event attended by district staff, hosted students from Englewood High School with a competition, “Are you Smarter than a High Schooler?”

The event, based on a game show hosted by Jeff Foxworthy, had a team consisting of Corps employees competing against the high school students. The students, who attend Jacksonville’s Englewood High School, are participants in the school’s English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL). According to Duval County Public Schools, the program is designed to improve the language proficiency of students whose native language is not English. Students who participated in the event were all born in Spanish-speaking countries.

Welcomed by district commander, Col. Alan Dodd who told the students, “They were the future” and encouraged them to “take hard classes and do well in school. It doesn’t matter if you are going to be teachers, scientists, doctors or engineers. What matters is that you are passionate about your choices.”

The game began with three categories with point values ranging from 100 to 500 points. The students chose questions that were geared toward current trends of arts and entertainment.

“The game-type atmosphere was a fun way for everyone to learn a few things about the Hispanic culture that they might not have known,” said Bilbao “and offers students an opportunity to learn about the district and how diversity plays an important role in being a successful organization.”  Bilbao, an engineer in the district’s Engineering Division, coordinated the event.

Other HHM activities included a cook-off, Oct 2, with appetizer, main dish and dessert categories. The winners were Colleen Shanklin, Tori White and Ivonne Butler.

Celebrated each year Sept. 15 thru Oct. 15, Hispanic Heritage Month is an official, sanctioned Equal Employment Opportunity special emphasis activity.