Puja Thapa / Administrative Executive Editor

On Monday, May 3, the Global Education Office, Global Culture Club, Office of Multicultural Student Support & Success and the Office of Student Involvement organized the Flag Raising Ceremony on the Student Center Lawn. Keene State College owls represented and raised flags for Bangladesh, Costa Rica, El-Salvador, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua (virtually), Peru, Puerto Rico, Syria, Uzbekistan (virtually) and Venezuela.





Oscar Munoz Franco representing Mexico

“There are three colors in the Mexican flag: there’s green, white and red. Green means hope. In Mexico, there’s a lot of people that have hoped for things that have come in the past… Then, white is dignity. So honoring ourselves and the country is very important in Mexico… The red is the blood of the national heroes… And then [in] the middle is the emblem of an eagle holding a snake on top of a cactus. And this is a Mayan tale where, when they arrived in Mexico City which was known as a Tenochtitlan, they saw this image of an eagle and they decided to immigrate there.”

Maria Paula Durant representing Costa Rica

“Costa Rica is such a lively country with people who are larger than life, like my family. We are extremely close and very large; my great grandmother had 12 children, and in line with the culture of Costa Rica, my family is very connected to one another. I know all of my grandmother’s siblings and all of my extended family, just as if they were my immediate family members, and between. When I [go] to Costa Rica. I always feel like I’m truly home there. My favorite memories there are when I’m with my family and we take hikes in beautiful jungles and waterfalls, where I can always see the monkies swinging by the trees and the sloths and the macaws lounging on the tree branches.”

Pedro Paez pictured representing Venezuela

“The yellow [in the flag] represents our natural resources, the blue represents the sea because in northern parts of the country we are facing the Caribbean coastline, and the red represents the blood spilled by the national heroes. I just want to say that I’m very proud of being Venezuelan.”

Camila Sanz Rodriguez representing Peru

“The first flag was designed in 1822 by Jose De San Marin. He combined the colors red and white. The color red means all the blood that our heroes have shed in the wars and the color white means the pure feeling, the freedom, social justice and peace… my flag represents my identity and where I come from.”

Gabriela Cardona representing El Salvador

“My favorite thing about my culture is how everyone loves to dance. No matter the occasion or the time, my grandma would always mention how her family would get together […dance]. El Salvador is one of the first places I want to travel to. I am forever grateful for my culture and how it’s made me the person I am today.”


Valerie Mamish pictured representing Syria

“I have never been to Syria personally but my father shared with me some memories he had that reminded him of his country. One thing specifically that always connects to his memories is the food. Although I was born in America, one thing I feel connected to when it comes to being Syrian is the food. When we eat dinner, my father and mother sometimes have stories to share because the food really reminds them of home.”

Ellieanna Vicente representing Puerto Rico

“If I can say one thing about Puerto Rican culture, it would be how this culture displays an abundance of love within everything. This is especially important today in our political climate….”

Sho Hashioka pictured representing Japan

Sho Hashioka is an international student from Japan studying at Keene State College. Hashioka represented Japan in the flag raising ceremony.


Semon Randall representing Bangladesh

“My connection to Bangladesh is my parents were born there and emigrated to America in 1994 where I was born in 1996. Bangladesh is sandwiched between India and Myanmar. Bangladesh was formerly East Pakistan in 1941 after the Britain colony led India and Pakistan to Hindu and Muslim nations. This was obviously an error in their part, because Bangladesh is culturally and geographically very different from Pakistan. And not only are they culturally different but Bangladesh also spoke their own language, which is Bengali. So, Pakistan actually did a martial law in 1941, where Urdu was the declared national language, and anyone that spoke nothing but Urdu would be in prison. So Bangladesh is actually the only country in the world that has to fight a war to speak their language. So that’s why it’s important for my family to teach me how to speak Bengali and my children to learn Bengali as well.”

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