There was not a moment when the children weren’t engaged at the 2016-2017 Hemet Unified School District’s annual Culturefest Feb. 3 with almost every school in the district providing exciting, fun and entertaining activities at the Santa Fe Education Center Gym in Hemet.
Little Layla Serna, 6, dipped her fishing line into the lair of the elusive Lock Ness Monster to pull out a washer with a gift’s number on it at the Little Lake Elementary School booth. A student’s mother carefully took aim and pitched a basketball, with a little help from Hamilton Elementary School Parent Teacher Student Association member Sandra Barrons, swished it in the basket to win a prize at the Anza school’s booth.
In the background a DJ called out a blue raffle ticket number bringing a scream of joy from one of the students in the gym who knew she won a prize offered at the event. In the center of the Santa Fe gym. The winner ran through a group of dancing Hemet High School Cheerleaders to get to her prize. The HHS cheerleaders in their red and white Bulldog colors never missed a step.
It was a never-ending buzz of activity in the brightly lighted Santa Fe gym during the 3- hour culture fest presented by the Hemet Parent Teacher Association and the English Learner Advisory Committees. The special event that used to be called the Posada (Mexican-American Christmas Celebration), is presented each year in the district with all the HUSD schools and PTSA’s invited to participate with fundraising activities in their own schools. The event this year had the emphasis on the Mexican, Latin America and South American cultures that many of the district students’ claim is their heritage.
There were delicious foods, pastries and soft drinks commonly found in the Spanish and Portugese speaking countries offered by West Valley High School, Diamond Valley Middle School and Whittier Elementary. The snacks and candies renewed the energies of the students and parents who tried their skills like the Toilet Bowl, Toilet Paper toss at the Ramona Elementary booth; the soft nerf gun tin can shoot at Val Vista Elementary booth, or the Winchester Elementary Bean Bag Toss.
For the more energetic, there was the sometimes difficult, rock climbing wall sponsored by Tahquitz High School. The Tahquitz High School Jazz Band couldn’t be left out as they played for the crowd toward the end of the festivities. At the special events’ beginning the Hemet High School Break Dance team made some amazing moves wowing the growing crowd.
Perhaps the highlight of the evening was a performance by one of the most skilled Spanish/Mexican style dance groups called the Itzacihuath Dancers. The 5-member dance troupe amazed with every quick and graceful move – twirling, tapping and kicking to the rhythmic Spanish music for almost 30 minutes.