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On inclusion and celebrating other cultures

One of our local school system’s most notable strengths is their programs and curriculum designed for students who use English as a second language.

With a growing population of students in Chambers County who hail from all over the world, it is great that our area schools are making sure that they receive the same level of education as their English-speaking peers.

Making sure that these students have the same resources is important, but making these students feel included and represented is even more so.

Academic education is one of the most vital parts of schooling, but there are many other things taught in school that aren’t found in textbooks. Self-esteem and social skills come out of the formative years of elementary and middle school, and those values are better shaped when one feels like they belong.

To boost this sense of belonging and celebrate the culture of Latino students, W.O. Lance held Hispanic Heritage Day on Thursday. With over 100 students, teachers and parents shining a spotlight on cultural pieces from Latin American countries like El Salvador, Guatemala and Costa Rica, the school showed that the students’ home country and family origin not only matters, but is important and worthy of celebration.

Having events like these are beneficial for these reasons and because they highlight the cultures of other countries in a way that Independence Day does for our own. They help the students from these places feel no different than a student whose family has lived in the South for multiple generations.

Giving more validation and to all kids in our community helps them grow, and that is important no matter where they are from. Let’s keep celebrating everyone.