McCool celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month
Cmdr. William C. McCool Elementary and Middle School is learning about the 20 Spanish-speaking countries in the world to increase their awareness about Hispanic cultures.
“I think it is a good idea to celebrate the different cultural heritages of the different students that attend our school,” said Pauline Olsen-Basurto MEMS Spanish teacher.
Olsen-Basurto said it was especially good that MEMS is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month because being here on Guam puts the focus on the Spanish language which was been spoken on the island for many years.
“I hope to tie into the curriculum of Spanish history on Guam and its influence on Chamorro culture and its connection to the present day,” she said. “I want the students to understand that there were 350 years of Spanish rule on this island and how that it relates to their own heritage.”
Olsen-Basurto said her class has already worked on remembering the capitals and countries where Spanish is spoken, creating family trees and learning the difference of last of names in Spanish countries.
She said her students will work on Spanish grammar for the next two weeks and has activities focused on culture planned for the students throughout the month.
Another Spanish teacher at MEMS, Maria D. Hernandez, teaches 300 students in grades one through three.
“My students are learning about how to pronounce words for colors, shapes and family members in Español,” she said. “They are also reciting the letters of the alphabet; they do canta (kan-TAH), (sing) songs and recite the days of the week and the months of the year, daily and all in Spanish.”
Hernandez said the students are learning about how many countries exist where Spanish is spoken.
She said depending on the age the students learn how to pronounce the name of the country and that the Spanish language originated from Spain.
The students will dress in outfits representing Mexico, Peru, Spain and Puerto Rico for the Hispanic Heritage Month Fair at the school Oct. 12.
The event will host booths for picture-taking, making tissue paper flowers, painting bark and a dress-up station where the children can try on traditional clothes from Latin countries.
The fair will also have a hair and make-up demonstration, a food tasting station that will offer algodon (ahl-goh-DOHN), or cotton candy, piraguas raspados (pee-RAH-guahs rah-spah-DOH), or shaved ice, and palomitas de maiz (pah-lo-mee-TAHS DE my-ihz), or popcorn, a musical presentation and dancing.
President Lyndon B. Johnson established Hispanic Heritage Week in 1968 and later President Ronald Reagan extended it to a month-long celebration from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, to correspond with the independence of the five Latin American countries.