Students are getting a taste of Mexican culture in the Pasco School District.
KENNEWICK, WA - Students are getting a taste of Mexican culture in the Pasco School District.
Violins, guitars, trumpets, a guitaron, vihuelas and singers make up Pasco High School's mariachi ensemble.
The mariachi program in the Pasco School District has been around for four years, it is now at every secondary school and Pasco High School.
Students said it is an honor to be part of the band.
"We want to be able to find a way to connect the vast majority of our students with the traditions that are important to their families," said Mathew Polk, Mariachi and Guitar Program Director.
Polk founded the mariachi program in 2010 he explained it has become so popular students at Pasco High School now have to audition to be part of the ensemble, he explained the band has helped kids become more engaged in school.
"We're blessed in the Pasco School District to have such a supporting school board and administration of the arts and they've been wise enough to recognize that having things like music and having things like art, are the kind of programs that keeps kids attracted to school and help with success of students in all the other areas of their life as well," he added.
"It's great to play music, I love the whole culture of mariachi and it has been really fun and I enjoy [that] we're able to have it here," said Victoria Ramirez, PHS Senior.
Students of all ethnic backgrounds are welcome in the band and they do not have to speak Spanish to get involved.
"Singing in another language is always fun cause it's just you know, it's difficult and it's fun to push yourself," said Carson Roach.
Karen Puente has played the violin since elementary school in orchestra. She said it is different to play mariachi because of the technique.
"I find music very interesting, I love it a lot, it's part of my life now and I enjoy playing and I just enjoy it a lot," she said.
"When you come to a mariachi concert and when you see the involvement from the parents and families and the supportive nature they bring to this, the community is really what drives this," Polk added.
Currently there are more than 150 students taking mariachi courses in the district and you can check them out at their biggest performance this year coming up in May.