Spanish students experience authentic culture at enrichment events outside of school


Akila Muthukumar

PreAP and AP Spanish students attend a Day of the Dead event at the Latino Cultural Center in Dallas on Oct. 29 as part of a series of enrichment activities offered to enhance understanding of Spanish language. Kids activities included designing sugar skulls, one of the many ways to honor the dead.

Akila Muthukumar, Staff Writer

You work meticulously to create the final intricate pattern of flowers on the top of the slightly grainy sugar skull with a rich, creamy blue frosting. You carefully extend the flower stem down to the cheekbones and end on the chin.

Once completed you snap a few pictures of your creation and get ready to eat it. 

Sugar skulls, authentic Mexican food, Latino artwork and craft stations were just a few of the things to do at the the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) festival on Oct. 29 at the Latino Cultural Center in Dallas.

Pre-AP Spanish III teachers Derryl Lee, Trent Pickrell and Alejandra Romo are offering their classes many opportunities like Day of the Dead to experience authentic Mexican culture while earning some bonus points.

“The language department believes that language learning should be taken outside of the four walls of our school,” Lee said. “It gives [students] an opportunity to be exposed to culture and language in the real world.”

For example, students who wanted practice their Spanish comprehension while having fun could watch the 2016 animated film La Leyenda del Chupacabras (English The Legend of the Chupacabras).

Lee, Pickrell, Romo and around 50 Spanish students watched the movie together on Oct. 22, but students can continue to go to the movie on their own time.

For students searching for a challenge, attending a play, “El Cerco de Numancia”, is an ideal option. The play, written by Miguel de Cervantes, tells a tale using Shakespearean language, making it difficult for even native speakers to keep up.

Again, the teachers attended this event on a select Saturday, but students were welcome to attend anytime.

“Overall there was an excellent turnout,” Lee said. “We had a big success because there were a lot of events [students attended] ranging from plays to theater to art.”

Lee estimates about 50 CHS students went to the movie, 30 to the Day of the Dead event, and at least eight to the play.

“Although I initially was motivated by the extra points I could earn on assignments, I ended up really enjoying [Day of the Dead],” sophomore Anjali Massand said.  “It was fun to hang out with my friends and do something out of the ordinary.”