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Best of the Week 2018-2019: Excellence in College Prep


On Wednesday, St. Ed's students celebrated the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe (the Virgin Mary) not just in their Spanish classes, but also with a Mass celebration to honor Mary with prayers, readings and songs in Spanish. The story of Our Lady of Guadalupe follows a poor Mexican man named Juan Diego who saw Our Lady of Guadalupe, clothed like an Aztec princess. Mary sent Juan Diego to the bishop to request that a chapel be built in the place she appeared. Because the bishop doubted his message, Juan Diego asked Mary for a sign to give to him to prove Mary's message. Mary filled Juan Diego's tilma full of roses, which were a rare sight to see in Mexico. When Juan Diego opened his tilma, releasing the roses, the bishop fell to his knees when he saw an image of Mary appear on Juan Diego's tilma where the roses had been.

Within the Mexican Catholic culture, people believe that Mary is a symbol for those who have no place. "Because Mary chose to appear to a poor, indigenous Mexican man to bear her message, Mexicans have a sense of pride in their heritage and their roots because of Our Lady of Guadalupe," says Spanish teacher Mrs. Lisa Hardin. Students in Mrs. Hardin, Mrs. Mariana

Martinez-Gigena and Mrs. Sherie Quinn's Spanish classes helped prepare the introduction, telling the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe, and read the readings in Spanish for Wednesday's Mass celebration. They also made tissue paper flowers to commemorate the roses Mary gave to Juan Diego, which were then used to decorate the altar, and even learned the Las Mañanitas, a song usually sung to celebrate a saint's feast day.

"Hearing Spanish spoken through the Gospel and providing students with an opportunity to encounter the Spanish language outside of class helps them to make a connection between Theology and Spanish that will stick," says Mrs. Hardin. "In the outside world, all people have different faiths and beliefs. It's important for our students to learn about various perspectives and be made aware of our world's changing demographics so that they can relate to others regardless of their religion." Students were able to connect the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe to real-world experiences and see firsthand how subjects learned in the classroom relate to everyday life. "What we teach goes beyond tolerance - we want our students to have real appreciation and love for all," says Mrs. Hardin. "Teaching the same lessons through separate courses with different perspectives provides a new vehicle for students to understand the information from different sides and helps reinforce what we teach."

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