KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Students at Fulton High School helped celebrate and bring awareness to Hispanic Heritage Month at the end of September. Classmates watched their peers honor the achievements, cultures, and heritage of Hispanic and Latino Americans.

“I want everybody to feel the community and how much we love each other,” said Naely Ortiz-Lozada, a Fulton High School senior. 

The event featured poetry readings, community speakers, traditional dances, and singing. 

“A lot of people don’t know that I speak Spanish and now I’m going to sing in Spanish,” said Ortiz-Lozada. 

Ortiz-Lozada and her mom performed Marc Anthony’s “Preciosa.” As proud Puerto Ricans they believe it’s important to have a space to celebrate all cultures in the Hispanic community and start conversations. 

“There is a lot of countries that belong to the Hispanic world, and I feel that they need to be celebrated too,” said Kayra Lozada-Agosto. 

Student leaders say it was incredible to watch their peers smile, laugh, and have fun while learning about the diversity on Fulton’s campus. 

“I go to this school, so I see the ends and the outs of this school and just the support of our community is just amazing,” said Rolando Sebastin Pascual, a Fulton High School senior. 

They hope their classmates left the program with a better understanding and appreciation for one another. 

More Hispanic + Latino Heritage Stories

“I just think respecting other people and understanding that there is so much more out there because I know there’s different cultures and ethnicities and diversities that we should be celebrating,” said Lesly Felipe, a Fulton High School senior. 

Today Hispanic Americans make up 19% of the U.S. population. They make up 36% of the student population at Fulton High School.