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