STAC Celebrates the Diversity of our Families: Hispanic Heritage Month
As part of Hispanic Heritage Month, we interviewed one of our members, Michelle Salas, about her background and why she loves STAC.
Tell us about your background and your family.
I was born in Mexico City. I’m a middle child. When I turned 18, I went to Montreal, Canada, and spent 6 months there. That was my first taste of freedom. Back in Mexico, I studied Dentistry and worked in Mexico City until I moved to the USA in September of 2007. I moved to San Francisco to be with my boyfriend, who is now my hubby! We used to live in the same city and we met because my sister married his brother! So yeah, sisters with brothers. That was fun (until they divorced). My hubby, Emilio, is a telecommunications engineer and before we established our home in Georgia his job gave us the opportunity to live in several states, and since we were childless for 5 years, that gave us plenty of time to explore every state where we lived and the surrounding areas too. At one point, my husband was transferred to New York City and I decided to drive my SUV up into the northeast with my dad as my copilot. It was one of my greatest adventures! It took us 8 days since we were sightseeing all over. Our home is currently in Roswell, GA. We have been here 6 years, which is the longest time we have been in one place.
Why did you choose to homeschool your kids?
During my childhood I was always labeled as “wild” and “hard to control.” I hated school because I could not talk to my friends or fun around and have fun. So, I was the problematic kid all of my school life, until I started college and enjoyed what I was doing. During my time in California and in Texas, I started to study things that I was interested in, and I discovered that I loved to learn new things. So, when I had my first kid seven years ago, I decided that I wanted to preserve his identity and his spirit. Homeschooling has given us freedom, a love for books, math and science. Plus, we have the flexibility to travel to Mexico and stay there for some months of the year.
What do you teach at STAC?
Currently I'm teaching Spanish. I have two classes. One is for higher Elementary and middle school and the other one is for High School and adults.
September 15-October 15 is Hispanic Heritage Month. Why do you feel it is important that we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month?
I believe that it is important for people to know that Hispanics have lived here for a long time, and that our contributions to this country are greater than people realize. Education is key to teaching a new generation about how important other cultures are to our lives. Latinx have been such an important piece of this great nation. It's important to know the stories behind people that came from Latin America or how first generations are moulding the American culture by fusing together their ancestors cultures and languages.
What are ways that Americans who are not of Hispanic heritage can respectfully celebrate Hispanic Heritage month?
Education is the key to respectful celebrations. Families could read about Latinx in the US, and learn about the traditions of Latin America. They could try to cook an authentic meal. They could learn that America is not a country; it is a continent.
What is happening at STAC to honor Hispanic Heritage Month?
Many classes at STAC will learn about Hispanic Heritage! Spanish students will learn about Mexico and make some crafts. Little Artists and Artistic Creations will learn about Mexican Amate paintings. The high school film class is going to learn about the 1960s Chicano student protests and will watch the movie, “Walkout.” The SOLE classes will explore the history and meaning behind Dia de los Muertos. Little Literature will enjoy picture books featuring Hispanic characters from many different cultures. High school art will examine the Mexican muralist movement. Full STEAM ahead will learn about astronaut José M. Hernández. The high school literature class, themed around places and cultures this year, will be writing questions and interviewing Michelle about her childhood in Mexico City.
What do you love most about STAC?
The diversity and community!