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A world of culture for Cinco de Mayo

By: LeAnna Toups

Date Posted: 1999-05-29

A group of ninth graders from Kubasaki High School spent their Cinco de Mayo in a very special way; they taught instead of being taught. The students put on May 5 a traditional Mexican fiesta for preschoolers at East -West Montessori Academy to celebrate Mexican Independence Day, complete with dancers, food and piņatas.

Students, along with a sponsoring teacher, Ms V Corley, spent weeks after school preparing for the celebration. The students and teacher choreographed dances, wrote skits for a puppet show, planned a traditional Mexican lunch, learned Spanish nursery rhymes, and designed crafts for the preschoolers to make. Assisting them throughout the preparations were other Kubasaki teachers and Marines from Camp Foster, all ably supported by the students' proud parents.

Finally May 5 rolled around and it was time to put their preparations to the test. Students boarded buses with all of their supplies needed for the fiesta and headed out to the academy. After their arrival, Ms Corley gave instruction and sent them to do their jobs. Tasks varied from setting up a makeshift stage for the puppet show, dressing in costume for the dancing, getting materials in order for craftwork, and preparing the food. When all was in readiness, it was time to begin. Erika, a student designated to address the preschoolers and their teachers, introduced the skit and from then on Kubasaki students started to showcase their talent. The puppet show was based on two young Mexican children talking to their grandfather (abuleo in Spanish) about Cinco de Mayo and its meaning. The puppet children learned that Cinco de Mayo was held to celebrate Mexican Independence, much like July 4 in the United States. Following the puppet show was a performance of Mexican dancing, with Kubasaki students costumed in Mexican dresses provided by a Kubasaki High School teacher. Three female students from Kubasaki then sang Mexican nursery rhymes to the preschoolers.

After the shows, the preschoolers returned to their classrooms with Kubasaki students to make crafts and enjoy a traditional Mexican meal of tacos. The preschoolers then made flower bracelets and paper-lace fans.

When the fiesta was over, the Kubasaki students bid farewell to their new friends and left with a great sense of accomplishment and joy.

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