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Students learn about Mexican culture

By Jennifer Youssef
Staff Writer

Daily Telegram (Adrian, MI)

12/22/01

ADRIAN -- Michener Elementary School first- and second-graders gathered at the Piotter Center in Adrian Friday to learn about different aspects of Mexican culture. The students had been studying the country all week, teacher Terry Buxton said.

Parents and teachers set up tables in the center's recreation room in the style of an open Mexican market where students could sample authentic cuisine, create corn-husk dolls and make pinatas. The children also participated in a basket-weaving activity, played Mexican games and made their own baleros, a popular toy used by Mexican children.

Educators said they organized the activities because they wanted the Hispanic students to learn more about their heritage, and to teach all the students about the rich Mexican history.

"We're trying to build an understanding of the culture and help the kids build tolerance towards others," Buxton said.

"We want the (Mexican) kids to adhere to their culture," she added. Buxton said 35 percent of the students at Michener are of Mexican descent.

In the classroom, students studied the geography, traditions and people of Mexico. Students brought in Mexican artifacts to share with their classmates, and some parents gave a cooking demonstration of authentic Mexican food, teacher Tracy Pickle said.

"We're going for the whole diverse population," she said.

The event helped first-grader Joey Wellman, 6, understand what he had been learning in the classroom. Joey said he learned "a bunch of stuff" in his class, but he didn't entirely understand it until yesterday.

"It made me confused, so this helps," he said.

Parent Dina Rincon attended the event with her son, Jesse, a first-grader at the school. Rincon, who is of Mexican descent, said she helped initiate the event three years ago.

"We're showing the kids another culture," she said. "They look forward to this."