GARLAND, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) — It’s National Hispanic Heritage Month, a time to recognize the contributions and influence of Latin Americans to the United States. The Garland Independent School District is looking to honor those experiences year-round in a new social studies course.
“Our school is very diverse. We have over 50% Hispanic students, 20% African American, 25% Asian American,” said Michael Arreola, the principal of North Garland High School. “We feel like if we can make things more relevant to them, then they’re really going to embrace it.”READ MORE: Small Plane Overturns At Dallas Executive Airport
Tenth grade students in Texas typically take World History, but for the first time ever, this school year Garland ISD sophomores can choose to take Mexican-American or African-American Studies instead.
“I really want to learn more about my ancestry or more of where my family comes from, and it sounds interesting,” said Diego Machuca, a 10th grade student at North Garland High School. “I really like the topic.”
Mexican-American Studies has quickly become the most popular option for students at North Garland High School.READ MORE: Arlington Police Officer Shoots Suspect Who Allegedly 'Drove Directly Towards Officer'
Teachers say the new perspective keeps students engaged while still covering a lot of world history.
“Mexico’s independence from Spain, we talked about the Revolution,” said DeMedia Brown, a social studies teacher at North Garland High School. “Well, we talked about the French Revolution, we talked about the American Revolution, we talked about the Haitian Revolution.”
The school talked with students and their parents individually to decide which social studies class was the right fit for them.
“A saying in Spanish that I really love is ‘la cultura cura’ which means ‘culture cares’ and so learning about yourself and your background and your culture really helps you feel connected to it and to take pride in where you’re from,” Arreola said.MORE NEWS: Domestic Violence Incident Involving Gunfire Led To Dallas Apartment Gas Explosion, Court Documents Show
Garland ISD 10th graders have the option of taking Mexican American Studies, African American Studies, or World History as their social studies credit at all seven high schools in the district.