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Esmeralda Puerto performs during the LSCPA 2nd annual “De Colores Fiesta” held Friday at the Woodrow Wilson Early College High School. Photo made Friday, September 16, 2022 Kim Brent/Beaumont Enterprise
The Bob Hope Mariachi Band performs during the LSCPA 2nd annual “De Colores Fiesta” held Friday at the Woodrow Wilson Early College High School. Photo made Friday, September 16, 2022 Kim Brent/Beaumont Enterprise
A group from Travis Elementary performs during the LSCPA 2nd annual “De Colores Fiesta” held Friday at the Woodrow Wilson Early College High School. Photo made Friday, September 16, 2022 Kim Brent/Beaumont Enterprise
Paty Alanis smiles as she records her husband Noe Alanis performing a love song during the LSCPA 2nd annual “De Colores Fiesta” held Friday at the Woodrow Wilson Early College High School. Photo made Friday, September 16, 2022 Kim Brent/Beaumont Enterprise
Volunteers served up traditional Mexican favorite foods and drink during the LSCPA 2nd annual “De Colores Fiesta” held Friday at the Woodrow Wilson Early College High School. Photo made Friday, September 16, 2022 Kim Brent/Beaumont Enterprise
Performers wait in line with the crowd to enjoy traditional Mexican food and drink during the LSCPA 2nd annual “De Colores Fiesta” held Friday at the Woodrow Wilson Early College High School. Photo made Friday, September 16, 2022 Kim Brent/Beaumont Enterprise
Keepsake gifts filled the entry tables during the LSCPA 2nd annual “De Colores Fiesta” held Friday at the Woodrow Wilson Early College High School. Photo made Friday, September 16, 2022 Kim Brent/Beaumont Enterprise
Beaumont Community Players’ final dress rehearsal before the opening of the Broadway hit “The Music Man” was performed in front of a crowd of family and friends last Thursday. Photo made Thursday, September 8, 2022 Kim Brent/Beaumont Enterprise
Vendor stations line the main hallway during the LSCPA 2nd annual “De Colores Fiesta” held Friday at the Woodrow Wilson Early College High School. Photo made Friday, September 16, 2022 Kim Brent/Beaumont Enterprise
Noe Alanis performs during the LSCPA 2nd annual “De Colores Fiesta” held Friday at the Woodrow Wilson Early College High School. Photo made Friday, September 16, 2022 Kim Brent/Beaumont Enterprise
A group from Travis Elementary School performs during the LSCPA 2nd annual “De Colores Fiesta” held Friday at the Woodrow Wilson Early College High School. Photo made Friday, September 16, 2022 Kim Brent/Beaumont Enterprise
Conjunto Lunada performs as a meal is served during the LSCPA 2nd annual “De Colores Fiesta” held Friday at the Woodrow Wilson Early College High School. Photo made Friday, September 16, 2022 Kim Brent/Beaumont Enterprise
Recognizing its third year as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, Lamar State College Port Arthur on Friday hosted its 2nd annual “De Colores Fiesta,” featuring musical performances from local artists and providing food and drinks to community members.
The event closed Hispanic-Serving Institution Week, which ran from Sept. 12 through 18.
“(The goal is to bring) unity between the campus and the community and making sure that we include our youth, which is our future, in anything that we do,” said Lamar State College Port Arthur Title V Outreach Coordinator Roger Turcios, Jr. “Because at the end of the day, the youth is what’s going to be our next generation of doctors, educators, and possible news reporters as well. They are the future.”
A Hispanic-Serving federal designation is given to a higher education institution whose undergraduate student population is comprised of at least 25% Hispanic students, as well as other criteria.
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“The main goal is to make sure that Hispanic and underserved populations are served throughout all academics and professional development,” Turcios said.
Students from various Port Arthur-area schools and community members piled into the auditorium at Woodrow Wilson Early College High School Friday afternoon to celebrate Hispanic culture and showcase future generations.
The fiesta began with multiple musical performances, introduced by Lamar State College Port Arthur Student Government Association President Juana Alvarez.
All of the evening’s performances were in Spanish and the entire program was in both English and Spanish.
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The almost hour-long musical lineup consisted of local performers including Paty Alanis, Noe Alanis, Ricardo Celis and Esmeralda Puerto, with both Paty and Noe Alanis performing twice.
Also joining in the lineup was the Bob Hope High School Mariachi Band. The group, comprised of 12 students and two instructors, played four instrumental songs for the audience.
The Bob Hope High School Eaglettes also performed a dance routine to multiple Spanish-language songs.
The musical program closed with a performance by eight Port Arthur ISD Travis Elementary students who danced to a Spanish- and English-language song with ribbon twirling.
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Each performance elicited responses from an excited audience, proud of their children, friends, colleagues and community members for their impactful showcase of Hispanic culture.
After the musical presentation, the audience headed to the school’s cafeteria to enjoy aguas frescas and beef and chicken tacos. 
Local music group Conjunto Lunada performed as attendees enjoyed the the free food and sno-cones.
In the hallway outside of the auditorium, several local, Hispanic-owned businesses had booths for attendees to shop from and learn more about.
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“The only way we can grow together is to push each other up(ward),” Turcios said.
Turcios said it’s important that the college connect with the community because ultimately, the college is at the core of the city.
“Whenever you think of downtown Port Arthur, what is the big campus there? It’s Lamar State College Port Arthur,” he said. “Sometimes, there are individuals who aren’t aware of what this campus is. So, through these events, we’re making sure that we can bring awareness to who we are, what we do and make sure that (the community knows) that our doors are open for anyone.”
In the second year of the event’s existence, Turcios said he was excited by the turnout of the fiesta. 
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Lamar Port Arthur went into the event hoping to have at least 150 attendees. Turcios said they surpassed that goal Friday.
He said they worked to make sure the event was even more inclusive this year by inviting more singers and having the Travis Elementary students perform.
“(We wanted to) make sure that we had a variety of themes and genres of music,” Turcios said. “That way, we don’t just highlight one sort of music type.”
The goal next year is to double the attendees and hopefully have local industry and companies sponsor it, he said.
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“Our goal is to ensure that as we continue to the third, fourth, and fifth and to who knows how far of the annual De Colores Fiesta, that every time we are growing our population, that we’re able to grab a new sort of population, a new group, making sure that we are including everyone,” he said. “Our end goal would definitely be making sure that everyone’s aware of De Colores Fiesta, so whenever it’s September, they know it’s fiesta time.”
Turcios said events like these also expose people who may be unaware of some cultures to new ideas and ways of life.
“I think that (by) bringing different vendors and informational booths and just having this type of event, it’s a fun and interactive way of learning and being able to become aware of the different cultures that are around here,” he said. “I know it’s very (common) to say, ‘Oh, Mexican culture,’ but there’s beyond Mexican culture — I myself come from a Salvadorian culture, Central America. Being able to highlight the uniqueness and diversity that we have is something that’s so special here at the fiesta.”
The feedback to the De Colores Fiesta has been positive, Turcios said. 
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“A lot of the groups that we had last year, were eager to come back again,” he said. “We started planning in July and I had individuals reaching out to me in May like, ‘Are we having a second one?’ And I said ‘Absolutely — you’re on my list.'”
While this week is Hispanic-Serving Institution Week, Turcios said Lamar State College Port Arthur works all year around to make sure that students of all backgrounds are included in its academic and professional development initiatives.
“Through anything that we do, we want to make sure that students see themselves in anything, whether it be initiatives, programs and resources, we want to make sure that they see themselves,” he said. “We want to make sure that they feel welcome, and they know that this is for them.”
For more information about Lamar State College Port Arthur, visit lamarpa.edu
olivia.malick@hearst.com
twitter.com/OliviaMalick
Olivia Malick is the education reporter for The Beaumont Enterprise.

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