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Students celebrate Cinco de Mayo with flair

By: Stephanie Dumm News Messenger Reporter
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The Carlin C. Coppin school courtyard was filled with the sounds of music and sights of kids dancing Tuesday afternoon. That’s because the school had its second annual Cinco de Mayo celebration. Festivities included a presentation of what Cinco de Mayo means, a talk about the Mexican flag and several dance performances, according to Teresa Avelar, a bilingual clerk at the school who organized the event. Cinco de Mayo commemorates the victory of Mexican forces over French expeditionary forces on May 5, 1862. Robert Santiago, at the celebration to watch his son and granddaughter, both fourth graders, perform and described the event as “great.” “I’m glad they all had a chance to perform,” Santiago said. “I think it’s important because of the diversity of Lincoln, because there are a lot of Latinos in Lincoln and it’s important to address their heritage.” Tina Mosier, watching her fourth-grade son dance, was pleased to see the students “learning about other cultures and traditions.” Avelar organized the festival to share her culture. “I don’t want our kids to lose their culture and traditions, and to keep our traditions and culture fresh and alive in their hearts,” Avelar said. “I want all the kids that are far away from their country that haven’t had the opportunity to see how Cinco de Mayo is celebrated in Mexico to learn from our culture and the traditions to celebrate.” All classes, from kindergarten to fifth grade, attended the celebration. Second-, third- and fourth- graders did dances such as the Macarena and Jarabe Tapatio. Some boys wore white shirts, red ties and sombreros while they danced. The girls wore colorful ribbons in their hair and brightly colored skirts. Avelar said the school’s Parent Teacher Club donated fabric for the skirts and a few parents sewed the skirts in about one week. Ronan Lancaster, 9, held the Mexican flag during the flag presentation and said he liked “learning what the colors meant and learning about the culture.” “It’s an important holiday for many people,” Kara Burns, 10, said. Kara told teachers and students about the meaning behind the Mexican flag. She said green is for hope, white is for purity and red is for blood. Andre Cuevas, 10, one of the dancing students, likes Cinco de Mayo because he “gets to spend time” with his family. “I got to dance in front of the whole school and it makes my feel proud of myself because I got to do it,” Andre said. School’s principal Terri Dorow praised Avelar after the celebration. “We’re really fortunate because Teresa put this together,” Dorow told The News Messenger. “The students have learned so much about the (Mexican) culture. I think it’s important we learn about different cultures and it’s important that all people have a global perspective.”