The Bridge at Plymouth Whitemarsh High School (PWHS) has become the place where student groups celebrate their identities and their cultures. After seeing decorations for events like Black Cultural Awareness Month and Pride Month last year, PWHS student Victoria Escobar-Martin wondered “Where am I? I don’t see myself,” — inspiring her to take the lead on making sure the Bridge was decorated for Hispanic American Heritage Month this year.
Victoria and her friends went to the Spanish teachers and the Spanish club for volunteers. Together, they decorated windows with flags from Spanish-speaking countries, and pictures of famous people who have a Hispanic background.
“I wanted to include as many possible flags that I could think of, just so people could say, ‘This is me. I see myself when I come into this school,’” said Victoria.
The highlighted personalities include Puerto Rican Rapper Daddy Yankee, Mexican-American astronaut Ellen Ochoa, entertainer Lin-Manuel Miranda, and others. One of the celebrities, singer Camila Cabello, holds special meaning for Victoria.
“She immigrated here when she was a kid with her mother, and I think it’s very inspirational. She was on The X-Factor, and she was able to become a voice for Cubans like me,” said the sophomore.
By design, the right side of the bridge is in English, so, when walking into the D-Wing, students, teachers, and visitors to the school — including parents and guardians on back to school night — would be able to quickly understand it. The left side of the bridge is in Spanish.
“I’m able to look left and right, and I'm able to identify myself with both sides,” said Victoria. “I’m just able to connect, and I really hope that other people are going to be able to, also.”
Hispanic American Heritage Month runs from September 15 to October 15. The celebration begins in the middle of the month to honor Independence Day for El Salvador, Guatemala, and the other countries in the area that became free of Spanish rule through the Act of Independence of Central America signed in Guatemala City in 1821.