Wednesday, September 22, 2004

íViva la escuela de Bellevue!

Students celebrate Mexican Independence Day

Express Staff Writer

Bellevue Elementary dual immersion students took to the field waving Mexican flags to celebrate Mexican Independence Day. Photo by David N. Seelig

Flashes of red, green and white filled the air at Bellevue Elementary School on Thursday as students waved the Mexican national colors.

?We are celebrating Mexico,? Osvaldo Arenas, a third-grade student, explained.

Arenas and fellow dual immersion students took to the field waving Mexican flags and colored streamers to celebrate Mexican Independence Day. The holiday falls on Sept. 16, marking the start of the Mexican Revolution.

During celebration at the elementary school, 160 dual immersion students marched onto the school field waving Mexican flags.

?This is the flag of my Dad,? Maximo Garcia, a third-grade student, said as he pointed to the Mexican flag.

Juan Salamanca, a second-grade teacher, led the procession dressed in a traditional poncho. The students followed Salamanca to form a swirling circle at the center of the field.

As the students marched, the group shouted in Spanish ?¡Viva Mexico, viva la independencia!? or (Long live Mexico, long live independence).

The chant comes from the speech ?El Grito de Dolores? (The Cry of Delores), given by revolutionary leader Father Miguel Hidalgo of Dolores, Mexico on the eve of the Mexican Revolution. Mexicans repeat his famous words at modern Independence Day celebrations throughout the country.

?During different holidays we try to bring in culture,? literacy teacher Kathleen Diepenbrock said.

As the students shouted in Spanish, the procession formed a continuous circle around Principal Gary St. George. He led the students in their final chant.

?¡Viva la escuela de Bellevue!? (Long live Bellevue Elementary School!)

Bellevue Elementary entertains the celebration every year. As the dual immersion program has expanded, the festivity has grown from 20 kindergarten students to a full field of bilingual children.

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