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East Elementary Celebrates Hispanic Heritage

Virginia Gutierrez, a licensure specialist for UCPS, shares stories with the East Elementary students about growing up in Puerto Rico and how she trained to be an opera singer.

On Tuesday, October 15, 2013 the students at East Elementary School celebrated the culmination of Hispanic Heritage Month by participating in two special programs, one planned for grades K – 2 and another for grades 3-5. Mrs. Amy Jackson, the general music teacher at East, organized the program and arranged for special guest performances. Jackson began planning the program details and contacting guest performers early in September before the fall intercession. Jackson was pleased how everything came together on the day of the program with the help of several colleagues such as Erin Hare, art teacher, Adolfo Medina, PE teacher, and Susan Colbath, ESL teacher.

During each program, the students learned to sing the song “Hola todos, Buenos Dias” as a group and they learned how to play instruments to accompany the song as well. Mrs. Jackson taught the song to the students and then selected teachers and student volunteers to play drums, maracas, guiros, and cowbells onstage while the rest of the group was singing. Also, the entire auditorium was decorated with the flags of Spanish speaking countries, made by 4th and 5th grade students in Mrs. Hare’s Art class. Next, the 7th and 8th grade Spanish class students from East Union Middle School performed two traditional Latin dances on the stage. Those students are taught by Mrs. Francy Zolke. The students had the entire crowd mesmerized as they danced around the stage. Lastly, Virginia Gutierrez, a Licensure Specialist and VIF Support Facilitator for the Human Resources Division of Central Office for Union County Public Schools shared about growing up in Puerto Rico and how she came to sing opera. She sang the Puerto Rican National Anthem, as well as the Italian opera piece, “O Mio Babbino Caro” for the students. Between each of the acts, Jackson showed the audience short video clips featuring children speaking about what Hispanic heritage means to them.

Jackson and her colleagues planned the program as a finale to Hispanic Heritage Month and to reinforce the learning taking place in the classrooms about Hispanic heritage all month long. Jackson stated, “I feel that with our population of students, Hispanic Heritage Month is extremely important. The students really relate to it and celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month is a vital part of preserving their culture, their livelihood, and their legacy. “

Written by: Amy Jackson, Music Teacher
Posted: Oct 31, 2013 by Lisa Moniz

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