Posted Date: 10/12/2022
COPPERAS COVE, TX (October 11, 2022)—A walk down the hallways of Copperas Cove Junior High will transport you to Mexico, Argentina, Guatemala, Bolivia, or one of more than a dozen Hispanic countries.
CCJHS student Vontae Gaines is enrolled in teacher Damaris Perez-Rodriguez’s Spanish class.
“I am part Columbian and I always love learning where I came from and about my Hispanic roots,” Gaines said.
Pinatas created by the students hang from the ceiling waiting to be broken open in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.
“We are doing different activities with our students including the Pinata Project,” Perez Rodriguez said. “They put a lot of effort to make them unique with only two cardboard sheets, cardstock paper, construction paper, tissue paper and some crafting accessories to build them using their imagination, creativity, and teamwork.”
Pinatas were created in the shapes of tacos, peppers, cacti, watermelons, donkeys, pizza slices, Day of the Dead skulls, ice cream cones, leaves, and even a minion.
Students also selected famous people of Hispanic descent to research and on which to make public presentations while speaking only in Spanish to the class.
“It is important to learn about the Hispanic culture and heritage as well as the language to be more socially aware,” said student Gracelyn Newton. “Living in America, there are people of all cultures and religions. So, to learn about other peoples’ lives and traditions, it gives you the insight into their world.”
Professional boxer Oscar De La Hoya, Hispanic astronaut Arnaldo Tamayo Méndez, Texas Supreme Court Justice Alberto Gonzales, Arturo Moreno, the first Mexican American to own a major U.S. sports team, actress Cameron Diaz, musician Carlos Santana, actor Edward James Olmos, and dozens more famous Hispanics were selected by the students and their photos are posted in the hallway to create a Hispanic wall.
“It is good to learn about Hispanic people because you can relate to some of the things that they have been through or they have done,” said student Elizabeth Rivera.
It wasn't only CCJHS Spanish classes learning about Hispanic heritage every Friday from September 15 through October 15. Students also participated in cultural dress-up days each Friday, learned new Spanish words, and listened to a variety of Spanish music tunes during morning announcements. The Spanish teachers are expanding Spanish culture beyond the classroom by creating an after-school Spanish club.
“I love seeing the students' excitement and expressions of understanding the Spanish language,” said Spanish teacher Nellie Perez who is planning the school’s second quinceañera scheduled in April.