CRYSTAL LAKE – McHenry County College will celebrate Latino Heritage Month from Sept. 17 through Oct. 11 with special events that recognize the contributions made by Latinos and to celebrate culture and traditions.
The month begins with a Kick-off Fiesta from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday in the commons area of Building B of the college, 8900 Route 14. The event will feature Latin American food from multiple countries, a food demo by Chef Maddox of LaPetit de Paris, a showcase of artifacts of Latin America, flamenco dancers, a hands-on craft activity, giveaways, plus traditional Mexican desserts provided by the MCC Hospitality Club.
In addition, area high school students on Sept. 21 will attend MCC’s second annual Latino Empowerment Conference, where students will learn about the array of resources available to all college students, including scholarships and financial aid options, degrees and certificates available and career exploration strategies. Students also will hear MCC Latino alumni share their success stories and listen to a lively presentation about goal setting by motivational speaker Ernesto Mejia.
All events are free and open to the public unless noted.
• Study Abroad Seminar: 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Sept. 19 Room B166-167. Learn about the various destinations to study abroad while attending MCC and the benefits of the MCC Study Abroad Program. The program will be repeated from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Oct. 9.
• Second-Annual Latino Empowerment Conference for high school students. 8 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. Sept. 21.
• Spanish Loteria (Bingo): 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. Sept. 25. This student-only bingo event will be held in the cafeteria.
• Latin American Coffee Tasting: Sept. 27. Students and staff can enjoy Latin American coffees and pastries and stop by to speak with Ted Erski, MCC geography instructor, who will be available to answer questions and explain the coffees represented.
• Bandoleros Performance: 8 to 10 p.m. Sept. 29. The Raue Center welcomes the Bandoleros, a Chicago-based musical force of nature that has mesmerized audiences around the world with its spicy blend of Middle Eastern, Spanish flamenco and Latin flavors. MCC students only may purchase tickets for $10 in the Student Life Office, Room A252.
• Lunch & Learn – Born to Solo and Inspire, Rafael Mèndez, trumpeter and teacher (1906-1981): Noon to 1 p.m. Oct. 3. MCC Speech instructor Ron Compton will feature the life and work of famous Latino musician Rafael Mèndez in Room A211.
• Field Trip to the National Museum of Mexican Art: 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Oct. 6. Join the college for a field trip to the National Museum of Mexican Art, featuring a tour of the current exhibits in English or Spanish, view of the Pilsen Murals and a visit to a Mexican bakery and an authentic Mexican lunch. Student trip fee is $20. Sign up in the Student Life Office, Room A252.
• Aztec Stories: 10 to 11:30 a.m. Oct. 11 in Luecht Conference Center, Building B, 2:30 to 3:50 p.m. in Room A112, and 6 to 7:30 p.m. in Room B166-167. A cultural/educational/musical workshop that will present the world of the ancient Mexica/Aztecs. Participants will learn about many ancient, native indigenous instruments and listen to oral tradition stories that will reintroduce the symbolism and meaning behind some of the instruments. The program is free.
For information about Latino Heritage Month activities, call Sonia Reising, coordinator of multicultural programs, at 815-455-8550.