The Significance of Hispanic Heritage Month Highlighted at Betances STEM by Students’ Parade of Flags

The Significance of Hispanic Heritage Month Highlighted at Betances STEM by Students’ Parade of Flags

Betances STEM Magnet School closed out Hispanic Heritage Month with their first annual Parade of Flags. The significance of Hispanic Heritage Month and how it relates to Betances STEM was highlighted to students and followed by a parade of flags led by students. Students were able to bring in flags from which ever cultural background they identify with inside and outside the perimeter of the school. Passing traffic beeped and yelled in support of the students waiving their flags high and with excitement.

flag-day-bstem-3In case you did not know the history of Betances STEM Magnet School and the significance of Dr. Ramon E. Betances. Please read an excerpt of what was shared with students, families, and staff at BSTEM.

Let’s take a moment to reflect on the history on how Betances STEM came to be.

Dr. Betances was a Puerto Rican nationalist, instigator of the Grito de Lares revolution and is considered the father of the Puerto Rican independence movement.

Betances was a renowned medical doctor, surgeon, early social hygienist as well as a public health administrator, diplomat, poet and novelist.

Over the main door of Betances Early Reading Lab in 1988 a bronze bas relief sculpture was placed of Dr. Betances. It was dedicated to the school on November 19, 1988, Puerto Rico Discovery Day.

The plaque in the school vestibule reads: Dr. Ramon Emerterio Betances Bronze Relief Presented To The Hartford Board of Education Betances School By La Casa de Puerto Rico November 19, 1988.

This is reportedly the first piece of public art in Connecticut to honor a Puerto Rican.

The semi-elliptical bas-relief depicts Dr. Betances and objects relating to his life and to Puerto Rican history. The figure of Dr. Betances is a bust with full detail. One detail in particular is a chair running horizontally at the bottom of the piece, to symbolize Dr. Betances’s opposition to slavery. A Puerto Rican flag flies behind him.

The building was built in 1925 as the Richard J. Kinsella School, designed by Whiton and McMahon of Hartford.

On November 7, 1985 it was renamed the Betances School in honor of Ramon Emerterio Betances y Alacan (1827-1898).

Fast forward to 2012 the year that Betances STEM Magnet School came into existence with its first 4th grade class overseen by Mr. Richardson. This year will mark our first 8th grade promoting class including many of the students of which are from the original 4th grade class.

Concluding Hispanic Heritage Month with a parade of flags around the outside of the school showcases the different countries our school represents; specifically Latin countries where Betances STEM has a student population of 40%.

Submitted by,

Curtis Porter III,  Program Assistant 

Betances STEM Magnet School

Curtis.Porter@Hartfordschools.org