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New teacher in Oaxaca, thanks to locals

Rodrigo Mesinas Pérez is now a certified special education teacher in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico, thanks to his dedication and hard work and the sponsorship of the CRHS Spanish Honor Society.

I was fortunate to attend the festivities in Oaxaca in mid-July. The graduation itself was on the 18th, but it was preceded by a “Calenda” on July 16. A “Calenda” is something like a parade, led by large paper-mache puppets, someone carrying a huge paper balloon (with, in this case, the name of the teachers’ college), and a band. The graduates, their families, and friends all walked several blocks in the center of the city (about a two-hour stroll to go 16 blocks). There was lots of dancing and celebrating during the procession. It was a fitting “fiesta” for these recent graduates.

On Friday, the formal graduation began at 6:30 with a traditional ceremony, not unlike our graduations in the U.S. After the ceremony ended, however, the night had just begun. First ,an excellent Mariachi band played for about an hour. It was followed by a dinner (which took two hours for us all to be served), and dancing until about 2 a.m. to music from another popular band from Oaxaca, Los Gigantes. Knowing how late the night would be, I, however, arranged to be picked up by a friend before midnight.

The following day (my last one in Oaxaca), I treated Rodrigo and his family to a four-course “lunch” (the main meal in Mexico) at one of my favorite restaurants in Oaxaca. There we enjoyed a great meal and fun conversation for another three hours. The concept of “celebration” is a huge part of why I love this city and its inhabitants so much.

Rodrigo was absolutely overcome with emotion at these events, which he would have never dreamed possible when he returned to elementary school some 13 years ago. He will be an awesome addition to the teaching profession in his country. He now is waiting for a teaching assignment.

Mexico’s educational system is run by the federal government, which means you do not apply for a job, but instead are sent wherever there is need. He will probably begin his career in a small village or town in the mountains surrounding Oaxaca.

Wherever he winds up, the community will be lucky to have such a fine young man in their school, giving back to the needy children of the area, just as he has received the gift of an education thanks to the generosity of the Durham and Middlefield communities.

Besides sponsoring Rodrigo, the CRHS Honor Society also supports another young student through Oaxaca Streetchildren Grassroots. In fact there are at least six children in this program who have sponsors from our community. Please go to the website: oaxacastreetchildrengrassroots.org or contact this writer at (860) 349-8464 for more information on how you, too, can help change the life of a child. There is always a need for sponsors.

—Marilyn Horn is a retired Spanish teacher for Region 13 schools.



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