Carter ES celebrates diversity with student showcase

Susan EspirituEast Knox

Carter Elementary celebrated its diverse community on Friday, March 22, with a showcase of traditional foods and intricate piñata projects from their last months of afterschool classwork.

Alejandra Mendoza Berry works at Carter Elementary School as the English Language Learner (ELL) teacher and is an apprentice in creating piñatas. She originally desired to learn more about this cultural art form by one of her student’s parent, a master artist, Eva Rodriguez de Luna, who creates piñatas as a business, Piñatas Luna on Faceboook.

Eva’s son, Eva Rodriguez de Luna, Alejandra Berry

Berry’s dream was to have de Luna teach her how to make pinatas and as an extension, teach the kids at Carter Elementary School which would educate people about the beauty that goes with passing down traditions and culture to future generations of Latinos living in Tennessee.

The program the two creative minds developed was born after de Luna received a grant from Tennessee Folklife program.  It was opened to all students interested in this art form. As a result, 21 students and one teacher signed up.

The afterschool activity was named Piñatas Del Pueblo, which means Piñatas from our small town. It began in January. Since its inception the class has created colorful piñatas with some students learning about the Mexican traditions of making piñatas in their own culture, while others expanded their world views of a new culture, using discussions to practice English to express what they learned.

Teacher Berry says, “The exhibit allowed parents to see the hard work the students did while piecing together each section of their elaborate project. They also got to enjoy traditional foods from different countries and created a space for parents to come together as invested partners of the Carter school community.”

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