His­panic Day cel­e­brated at Oak­wood El­e­men­tary

The Morning Journal (Lorain, OH) - - FRONT PAGE - By Bri­ana Con­tr­eras

His­panic cul­tures were ex­plored by stu­dents and their fam­ily mem­bers at Oak­wood El­e­men­tary in Elyria.

“Even though we’re dif­fer­ent, we have a lot in com­mon. That’s what we’re re­ally try­ing to pro­mote.”

His­panic cul­tures were ex­plored by stu­dents and their fam­ily mem­bers Oct. 11 at Oak­wood El­e­men­tary in Elyria dur­ing the school’s sec­ond an­nual His­panic Day.

Fourth- and fifth-graders at Oak­wood were able to en­gage in a num­ber ac­tiv­i­ties or sta­tions, learn­ing about the dif­fer­ent cul­tures as well as in­cor­po­rat­ing school lessons and strate­gies.

The two grades were sep­a­rated in small groups and each ex­plored sta­tions like: Zumba danc­ing, His­panic ar­ti­facts of coun­tries like Cuba and Costa Rica, salsa mak­ing with frac­tions, lessons of the law from a state trooper, Mex­i­can cloth­ing, flag cre­ations of the dif­fer­ent coun­tries and a game in­volv­ing strate­gies of re­mov­ing a worm from mounds in Puerto Rico.

The young­sters and their fam­i­lies were able to en­joy authen­tic Puerto Ri­can ar­roz con gan­d­ules, which is rice and beans, and pastelli­los.

Mercy Health was also in at­ten­dance to share ways of cop­ing with emo­tions and child health and safety with young­sters and their fam­i­lies.

Michelle Nimene, fourth­grade math teacher at Oak­wood, said His­panic Day has ex­panded af­ter a suc­cess­ful first year.

Last year, His­panic Day was held for fourth-graders only.

“Our His­panic pop­u­la­tion is grow­ing and we just want to elim­i­nate those bar­ri­ers that come be­tween us, as far as let­ting (the fam­i­lies) feel like they’re a part of the com­mu­nity and that they’re val­ued and part of the re­sources we can of­fer,”

— Michelle Nimene, fourth­grade match teacher at Oak­wood

Nimene said.

Within each sta­tion, there were both Englis­hand Span­ish-speak­ing in­struc­tors so fam­i­lies and par­ents could feel more a part of the cel­e­bra­tion, Nimene said.

The day was meant to not only cel­e­brate His­panic Her­itage Month, which is from Sept. 15-Oct. 15, but to in­tro­duce all His­panic cul­tures to stu­dents of dif­fer­ent na­tion­al­i­ties, she said.

The day was cel­e­brated for stu­dents to learn how to value di­ver­sity, she added.

“Just be­cause some­one looks dif­fer­ent, their hair’s dif­fer­ent or likes dif­fer­ent things, we’ve got to make sure that we def­i­nitely give them that ex­pe­ri­ence so they can value each other,” Nimene said. “Be­cause even though we’re dif­fer­ent, we have a lot in com­mon. That’s what we’re re­ally try­ing to pro­mote.”

Nimene said all fam­i­lies in the Elyria com­mu­nity are Pioneers.

Bran­don Sanabria of Elyria at­tended His­panic Day for the sec­ond year with his step-daugh­ter Elyssa Payne, 10.

Sanabria is Puerto Ri­can and was born in New York, but grew up in Elyria when he and his fam­ily moved to the area as a teenager.

He said Elyssa is not of His­panic de­scent, but Sanabria has no­ticed she is in­trigued by the cul­tures through his cook­ing and she said she looked for­ward to him com­ing to His­panic Day.

Sanabria added he en­joyed see­ing a Puerto Ri­can pilón, also known as a mor­tar and pes­tle used to grind spices and herbs for dishes, at the sta­tion shar­ing the dif­fer­ent ar­ti­facts of Latin coun­tries.

The pilón brought back mem­o­ries of his child­hood when his grand­mother handed down a tool that was over 100 years old to his mother.

“It’s good any time we try to teach di­ver­sity to the kids and bring aware­ness,” Sanabria said. “I think we should all try to un­der­stand each other since we all have to (be) to­gether.”

BRI­ANA CON­TR­ERAS — THE MORN­ING JOUR­NAL

Fifth-grader Se­lena Quiles, from left, fourth-grader Ryan Jones and fifth-grader Kal­ice Till­man par­tic­i­pate in a flag creation ac­tiv­ity Oct. 11 at Oak­wood El­e­men­tary in Elyria for His­panic Day. The school ex­plored the dif­fer­ent His­panic/ Latino cul­tures through a num­ber of ac­tiv­i­ties through­out the af­ter­noon.

BRI­ANA CON­TR­ERAS — THE MORN­ING JOUR­NAL

The tra­di­tions of Mex­i­can cloth­ing are shared with fourt­hand fifth-grade stu­dents Oct. 11 at Oak­wood El­e­men­tary.

BRI­ANA CON­TR­ERAS — THE MORN­ING JOUR­NAL

Brenda John­stone, a lo­cal Zumba in­struc­tor, shares Latin moves with fourth- and fifth-grade stu­dents Oct. 11 at Oak­wood El­e­men­tary in Elyria for His­panic Day.

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