Fort Riley, Kansas



Community celebrates Hispanic heritage

By Jessica Healey | EO | October 22, 2013

The Fort Riley community celebrated Hispanic heritage with an observance Sept. 18 at Riley's Conference Center.

The event featured relevant cultural information on display, music from the 1st Infantry Division band, a cultural food sampling and a guest speaker.

Madai Rivera was the featured speaker during the event.

Rivera is a first-generation immigrant, originally from Juarez, Mexico. She also is a first-generation college graduate.

She graduated from Kansas State University with a bachelor's degree in elementary education, minor in dance, certificate in English as a second language and also a master's degree in curriculum and instruction.

Rivera also is working toward her doctoral degree in student affairs in higher education. She works at K-State as a coordinator of academic services and diversity for the College of Human Ecology and as an admissions coordinator for Hispanic recruitment.

She spoke about her Family's move from Juarez, Mexico, to Dodge City, Kan., and the struggle it was for her parents at times.

"The sacrifices that my parents were making for their Family had a much, much bigger purpose," Rivera said. "The sacrifices that you've made as Soldiers, they have a bigger purpose. The impact that you are making (is significant, and) you are all role models."

Many of the cultural displays were brought by Rivera and came from her students.

"This observation this month is really something that's representative of a greater context that all of us are truly the threads in the fabric of our nation, of our Army and of the Nation's 1st Division, where everyone has the full opportunity to reach their absolute and full potential," said Col. Morgan, deputy chief of staff, 1st Inf. Div.

Rivera said the Hispanic heritage observance is about embracing cultural diversity because "we all have a story."

The next observance will be in honor of Native American Indian Heritage Month Nov. 20.

For more photos of the event go to

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