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Beyond the Classroom: Guest speaker for world languages

 During the 2013-2014 school year, World Language classes at CATA hosted two guest speakers. Mr. Jose Galvez was born in the U.S.A. and believed in working hard because he did not have things handed to him. He is a Mexican-American who came from humble beginnings. His first job as a shoe shiner for the writers and photographers of the local newspaper sparked his interest in photography that ended in a lifelong career. The pinnacle of his career happened while he was working for the LA Times when he received the Pulitzer Prize for his work documenting Hispanics in the United States.  Mr. Galvez overcame several obstacles. He came from a family that did not value education and viewed his goals as overly ambitious. He overcame stereotypes about his cutlure. His own guidance counselor even suggested that he study manual labor aspects of photography. Mr. Galvez recalled that he was told “You can’t be a photographer or writer, you should learn how to run the printing press for the newspaper.”  Being ambitious was unacceptable in his culture so his family looked down on his thoughts of going to college. But today, he takes black and white photos to focus on the moment and not the colors.  Mr Galvez stated “I take less photos but they’re meaningful and purposeful.”  Mr. Galvez told CATA students that he does not use a digital camera taking numerous pictures that you have to later thumb through, pick out the best, and edit. He prefers to take one great picture that has to be developed the old fashioned way. There is value in nostalgia and Mr. Galvez embraces his identity completely with pride.

Steve Walker works for JAARS and Wycliffe Bible translators. He has lived among indigenous populations in Mexico and in Papua New Guinea. CATA students and staff loved his presentation on the language of the Chinotecs in Oaxaca Mexico. The Chinotec people speak in their indigenous dialect and the men communicate in the fields by whistling. One could see the benefit of whistling as a means of communicating from the video. Not only were the fields massive but the landscape was covered in rugged mountains with steep slopes. In Mexico a lot of the indigenous languages are dying out because their school system only supports instruction in Spanish. In these remote towns it is mostly the older generations that are using their indigenous dialect and whistling exclusively. According to the video a language does not die off over night but rather in bits and pieces. If the young people do not use their home language to communicate it dies off. This definitely caught our attention and students have been tempted to come up with our own version of the whistling language.


Written by: A. Mancilla-Kimbrough
Posted: Jul 08, 2014 by Kim Fisenne

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