Nathalie Torres takes a whack at the piñata with a stick to try and break it open at San Marcos High School’s Cinco de Mayo event organized by the school’s Spanish club Thursday night. Daily Record photos by Denise Cathey
San Marcos High School celebrates Cinco de Mayo
San Marcos High School held its first celebration for Cinco de Mayo on Thursday evening in the school’s library as a celebration of Mexican, Mexican American and Latin American cultures. Hosted by the newly-formed San Marcos High School Spanish club, the event provided live music, performances, readings and free food.
The event came about as part of an effort to promote the school’s new Spanish club.
“We had a big push this year in trying to get a Spanish club in the high school again,“ Spanish teacher Jose Sanchez said. “We encouraged our kids to come up with something that would be good for the community and the high school and this is what they came up with. It’s all our Spanish club members that really put the hard work in to make this happen.”
Cinco de Mayo’s public appeal made it the perfect first event for the club. “It is such a celebration that is so widely known in America that we felt we should start out with this as it’s something that hadn’t been done here in a very, very long time,” Spanish club student president Jasmine Sierra said.
Parents and friends use their phones to record and snap photos as kindergarten and first grade students from Irene K. Mendez Elementary’s Dual Language program sing “Tengo una muñeca vestida de azul” during their performance for San Marcos High School’s Cinco de Mayo event.
While the club members thought that an event like Cinco de Mayo would be a big draw, their purpose was also to promote cultural diversity. “Since there is a lot of Latin American influence here in San Marcos, we wanted them to know that they’re recognized for who they are and that they should be proud of their culture,” Spanish club student vice president Joselyn Gregorio said.
After performances from Spanish club members, the San Marcos High School Mariachi Band and students from Irene K. Mendez Elementary’s Dual Language program among others, a piñata was suspended from the second floor railing for children to take a whack at.
“One of our students brought it up from Nuevo Laredo in Mexico and we piled, I don’t know, $80 worth of candy into it. So as long as the kids had fun that’s really what we wanted,” Sanchez said.
After busting open a piñata, children rush to collect candy at San Marcos High School.
Fun was just one aspect of what the organizers hoped to achieve with their event, informing the public about the true meaning of Cinco de Mayo was another. “It’s not Mexico’s independence. It’s a battle that happened in Puebla that brought the people together,” San Marcos High School Spanish teacher Gracie Garcia said.
For organizers Garcia and Sanchez the success of the event feeds their hopes to grow the celebration over time.“ We hoped for 100 and we got well over 100 tonight,” Sanchez said. “Next year I think we can shoot for 200 and bring more people out.”