St. John Vianney Catholic School recently celebrated 'Hispanic Heritage Month.' The month-long celebration started from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. According to The Florida Catholic, the event recognizes the contributions of the Hispanic community to the church.
Celebrating Its Hispanic Roots
To celebrate, the school held its Hispanic Heritage Day School Mass on Friday, Oct. 8.
Father Carlos Caban, the school's pastor, officiated the Mass. As reported, third graders wore sashes and waved flags of the various nations represented in the school.
After the Mass, Father Caban thanked Henry Fortier, superintendent of schools, for his commitment and dedication to their school.
God Is Diverse
Meanwhile, Fortier reminded the attendees that "everyone was equal in God's eyes."
He admitted that even if the nations of the world had their differences, they all belonged to the same family of God. Thirteen of the 42 nations represented in the school were Hispanic countries.
The superintendent also told the attendees to take note of this year's theme, "Made in the Image of God." Fortier explained that everyone's differences were an expression of how diverse God is.
As mentioned, the Catholic School is the only dual-language school in the whole Orlando Diocese.
In 2017, the school implemented its dual-language program in which the students learn in both English and Spanish.
According to the Orlando Diocese website, the school was one of the many recipients of a $2.6 million grant funded by the U.S. Department of Education.
Students from the pre-K department were the first to follow the new learning model. Now, the students are in third grade.
Cathy Marshall, the school's principal, hoped to have St. John Vianney Catholic School bilingual by the academic year 2026-2027.
She also assured teachers that the school would help them during the entire journey.
"We will have access to already successful dual-language schools," she said in an article on the Orlando Diocese website.
She explained that the Catholic school would follow the curriculum and parent education of the different dual-language schools in the country.
Marshall said she was confident that doing so would help the school make sound decisions about its curriculum.
Meanwhile, Father Thomas Walden, St. John Vianney Parish's pastor, expressed his excitement over the new bilingual program.
He stressed that the best time for students to learn another language was at an early age. Father Walden hoped to mold its students into responsible leaders of the 21st century.
The pastor said the school's new dual-language program would give them the tools to help them succeed in a multicultural society.
At the time, Marshall called the dual-language program a "21st-century initiative" that supports the church. She asked parents and parishioners to pray for their success.
She also said she was thankful for the trust and vision of Fortier and Orlando Bishop John Noonan for helping them establish the program.
National Hispanic Heritage Month
According to the National Hispanic Heritage Month website, the celebration began as Hispanic Heritage Week in 1968.
President Ronald Reagan expanded the celebration in 1988 to cover 30 days starting on Sept. 15 and ending on Oct. 15. It became law on Aug. 17, 1988.
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