South Orangetown Central School District

In recognition of National Hispanic Heritage Month, Tappan Zee High School Spanish language classes are engaged in a number of lessons which combine technical skills-building with deepening cultural awareness.

“Our Spanish II students researched Hispanic people of influence and created sock puppets in their likeness for video interviews,” explained World Languages Team Leader Suzanne Grinberg. “This required in-depth research and challenged students to expand their grammar and vocabulary skills.” 

Gabbi, a ninth grader, researched Bad Bunny, a Grammy Award-winning Puerto Rican rapper and singer. “I really liked learning about his life. Bad Bunny is super different from other artists in terms of his musical style and how he presents himself. He’s really inspiring.”

Academy Award-winning actress Ariana DeBose was the subject of study for Nina, also a ninth grader. “I knew her from her role as Anita in ‘West Side Story,’ but didn’t realize that she had been in so many other things–including ‘Hamilton.’ She was The Bullet–really cool.”

“These are culture courses and language is a component. Without an appreciation for its context, learning the language becomes very one-dimensional. And having the opportunity to choose their subject provides an important point of connection: engaged students are more motivated and perform better,” Grinberg said.

TZHS Hispanic Heritage Month lesson