HOLLAND, Mich. (WOOD) — Each one of the students at Holland High School makes up the fabric of their community.
Football player Julian Segovia has ties to Texas, while his teammate, Mikael Salazar, and classmate, Yanyssa Ochoa, have roots in Mexico.
It’s one of the countries Ochoa said Holland High will honor during the school’s football game Friday night for Hispanic Heritage Month.
Administrators started the tradition two years ago.
“We are acknowledging the majority of our school’s demographic,” said Yanyssa Ochoa, a senior at Holland High School. “It’s very nice.”
The acknowledgment includes a half-time performance, a flag parade, music by Atrevidos Norteños, a half-time performance, photos with la Catrina Divinna, Ballet Folklorico and custom jerseys the football players wear, saying “Los Dutch.” That translates in English to “The Dutch,” the high school’s mascot.
“It builds a community,” said Julian Segovia, a senior at Holland High School. “It gets everyone excited about for our football program.”
Mikael Salazar, a senior at the high school, said the spotlight on Hispanic Heritage builds connection.
“It’s a good way of connecting with our people and our school,” said Salazar.
Salaza’s mom, Veronica, said the celebration highlights the Latino community and its rich culture. She’s the dean of students at the school.
“We recognize that our school is a predominantly non-white student population, with a majority of that being Hispanic,” said Dean Salazar.
Dean Salazar said Hispanics, like her family, haven’t always been represented in Holland.
She said that’s changed over the years, in part, because of the city’s commitment to diversity.
“It makes us feel a part of the community, not only a part of the community to be observed in a unique way, but included,” said Dean Salazar.
That sense of belonging is what everyone wants to feel. It also motivates the football players to keep their eyes on the ball.
“I just want to score,” said Segovia.