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Bolles Students Explore Cultures During National Hispanic Heritage Month
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In honor and celebration of National Hispanic Heritage Month, students on all four Bolles campuses enjoyed opportunities to appreciate and explore Hispanic culture, history, foods and heritage.

There were many activities planned on the Bolles Upper School San Jose Campus through the month including Latin music on the campus speakers, special cuisine in Verlander Hall, a special Hispanic Heritage Month book collection highlighting Hispanic authors and experiences and activities in Spanish classes throughout campus. In Adriana Stam’s Spanish 2 Honors and IV Honors classes, students made papel picado, a tradition in Mexico. Students decorated Ulmer Hall with their creations to honor the country’s culture and traditions.

On Tuesday, October 12, upper school students plan to keep the Hispanic Heritage month celebration going with a spelling bee in Spanish. Organizers plan to crown five winners for each level of Spanish taught at Bolles. Students will meet in the meditation garden between Ulmer and Bolles halls.

On the Bolles Middle School Bartram Campus, Librarian Shelley Schaberg promoted a collection of print material in the Pratt Library and a Sora ebook and audiobook selection of books by Hispanic authors or about Hispanic experiences. Spanish teachers Mary Lynn Smith and Savannah Wood hosted a competition during Activities period challenging contestants to work in groups to name the most U.S. geographical names that are Spanish words. Students also were quizzed with trivia questions and facts during the month through Schoology. In one example, Dean Mindy Kelly shared the fact that not only was Sonia Sotomayor the first Hispanic American person on the Supreme Court but also saved Major League Baseball, teasing a special video for students to enjoy. Bolles Director of Dance Angela Blackledge hosted Jacksonville professional dancer Heather Wilcox to instruct Bolles dancers in Latin ballroom moves. Wilcox was the guest artist at the group’s first company rehearsal. The piece they worked on with Wilcox will be part of the company’s spring dance concert. Teacher Dan Tamblyn initiated a papel picado activity for students and the Bartram FLIK dining staff cooked a wonderful Cuban meal featuring mojo pork and fried plantains, according to Middle School Bartram Campus Head Josh Bauman.

Students on both lower school campuses also took the month to learn more about Hispanic culture. On the Bolles Lower School Ponte Vedra Beach Campus, students learned salsa from parent Heather Kornick and heard a fellow student recite the Pledge of Allegiance in Spanish during a morning flag event and enjoyed a special menu in Ponte Vedra Hall. Students there also staged an International Day of Peace parade during which they sang “Paz,” (peace) in Spanish as they circled the campus. Both campuses hosted daylong storytelling events with Cuban-born children’s book author, Carmen Agra Deedy. Her books reflect her experiences as a Cuban refugee living in Georgia.

In honor of Hispanic Heritage Month coming to a close, Sra. Isabel Falcoa – mother of two Bolles Bulldogs – spoke to both Bolles Lower School Whitehurst Campus Grade 2 classes about her home country, Brazil, and her hometown, Rio de Jainero. Students learn about many cultures, countries and languages during the school year at the lower school level, and time after time, visiting family members prove to be wonderful teachers. In recent months, two mothers born in North and South Vietnam shared their experiences with students in Grade 5 while Bolles Lower School Ponte Vedra Beach Campus friends learned about the Jewish holiday Rosh Hashanah from a parent-teacher.  Falcoa’s visit was no exception, as she shared personal experiences and beautiful photos of the flora and fauna in Brazil. She also discussed the importance of rainforests in the country. One of the visit’s highlights was the dispersal of Brazilian treats, Pão de Queijo-cheese bread and cookies, for students’ culinary enjoyment.

Grade 3 teacher Andrea Benitez and her husband, Antonio, visited first grade classes on October 6 to share their Hispanic heritage and experiences with students. Rounding out Hispanic Heritage Month is a visit from Sakoso Dance School, which will present a Yaya Productions Hispanic Heritage Celebration on October 12 on the Bolles Lower School Whitehurst Campus. The dancers from Sakoso Dance School will provide a brief history of music genres and teach students Latin dances like Salsa, Merengue and Bachata.

Mil gracias to all the teachers, parents and guests who shared their experiences with our Bulldogs during Hispanic Heritage Month!

For a collection of photos from Hispanic Heritage Month, visit our online gallery.