A special blog installment by L-Dub Student Journalists Zoe ‘16, Vera ‘17, Anne Elise ‘18, and Addiemaymae '18
What Is Festival de Otoño?
Everyone loves Festival de Otoño. It is filled with bright colors, fun dancing, and singing with friends and family – it’s all so exciting. From a student’s perspective, performing in front of the whole school can be nerve wracking at first, but with most L-Dub performances, anxiety quickly dissolves into energy, confidence, and laughter. And showing off the work you put into your telenovela – or watching those made by your L-Dub sisters – makes you feel a warm sense of pride. But what is Festival de Otoño? I turned to Señora Charito to find out more.
“Festival de Otoño is a community celebration in which we celebrate Latin/Spanish-speaking culture and our accomplishments.” she told me in an interview the day after the event. “It’s a party.”
This party was originally the autumn/halloween festival until Señora had the idea to have a Latin/Spanish-speaking cultural-themed fête. “It’s really turned into an all-community event,” she said. Over the years, Festival has evolved, and it continues to. Projects have come and gone, locations have moved, and the food served differs from year to year. But it’s still a time to celebrate each other and ourselves. It’s still a time to show our family, L-Dub or otherwise, what we have accomplished. But most of all, it’s just plain fun.
Next, we interviewed Señorita Jacquie:
Zoe: I know that this is your third year of co-leading Festival with Señora. Your first year at L-Dub, you taught the 8th grade class when they were in sixth grade. What was your initial reaction to Festival?
Señorita Jacquie: I was never a performer, and during my first or second week of school at L-Dub I had to teach two grades songs and dances! Ms. Jenny called it a perfect example of “baptism by fire.”
Zoe: What is the teaching content like leading up to Festival?
Señorita Jacquie: Both grades do some learning around Dia de los Muertos and the history of Halloween. There is a history behind each song and there is a specific cultural message.
Zoe: What do you love the most about Festival?
Señorita Jacquie: What is so great about Festival is that it doesn’t feel real until that night! I love seeing the girls being confident and singing and dancing on stage and being able to sing a whole Spanish song. I can see all of their genuine smiles on stage. I also appreciate that there is a special night dedicated to the Spanish department.
Zoe: As a student at L-Dub, I love learning Spanish songs in class but how does it benefit the teachers?
Señorita Jacquie: When the girls learn the songs, I actually see them using new vocab from the song that they then use in class. It is also nice that they are learning something other than just grammar.
Zoe: Thanks, Señorita!
A Sixth Grade Student's First Festival
Walking into school at 6:30p is not something you do every day. The school was buzzing with activity. As I walked in, I saw families receiving name tags and then taking time to admire the elaborate altar that was set up by Ms.Chelsea. After walking through classrooms displaying art created by sixth, seventh, and eighth grade – as well as Ms.Klema’s art elective – and watching the telenovelas filmed and edited by the seventh and eighth grade, students and their parents walked over to the church hall. There we listened to Evy’s Uncle’s mariachi band play two energetic, festive songs, and then the sixth, seventh and eighth grades sang dramatic, sweet, and exciting songs. To end the night, Ms. Heather's dance exploration class performed a dance they had prepared, and the whole school danced to a song the eighth graders picked out and choreographed. After the event, the whole school worked together to clean up. At this time, I took the opportunity to talk to some of the teachers about their feelings about Festival de Otoño.
“I love seeing everyone having such fun. I also enjoy the community feel,” said Head of School, Ms. Hearn.
Ms.Keiko told me, smiling as she spoke, “I love how the whole school works together and how amazed the sixth grade looks performing in front of everyone...for the first time.”
Being a sixth grader myself, I felt amazed standing in front of everyone, but didn't realize how much it showed.
“It's definitely my favorite event,” Ms. Keiko said, “and I get very emotional and teary watching it.” Wow, I thought, these events – and our performances – really do mean something to these amazing teachers. That is what stuck with me the most.
A Festival for All
All of the eighth graders carry a look of anticipation and excitement knowing that their telenovelas will be shown. These are their Spanish soap opera films that they have been working on for two months. Seventh graders smile as they hear Madison and Nyssa introduce their song and they step on stage to sing, “Wavin’ Flag,” with all their hearts. Sixth graders sing as sweetly as birds as they perform the traditional Mexican song, “De Colores.” Families and friends watch as they see the girls showing off their bilingualism and performance skills. Teachers watch their students take everything they have learned and show it to the community. The whole school is drenched in color and enthusiasm as Festival De Otoño is celebrated at L-Dub for the 11th year. It is always an event to be remembered. Festival is the party of the year!
We wanted to see what the audience had to say about being part of Festival, watching the girls sing, dance, act, and speak. We asked them what their favorite parts were and what they learned at Festival this year. There was a wide range of highlights. From Ella’s awesome guitar playing, the whole school poem, to the Mariachi playing. Festival has definitely changed over the years but according to Rich Sohn P’14, ‘18, “Festival never gets old”. Many parents enjoyed seeing their daughters confidence on stage. Frewoini Gugsa P’15, ‘18 told me, “I saw another side of my daughter tonight. I saw her come out of her shell, talking to different people, and opening up on stage.” The poem also hit home with many parents, Laura Rodde P’16: “I liked the poem because it was international and inclusive and stood for everything L-Dub stands for.” Many people also mentioned the eighth grade telenovelas. Sue Wendel P’16 said, “My favorite part was watching the telenovelas because they were produced fabulously and were artfully created.”
– L-Dub Student Journalists, Zoe ‘16, Vera ‘17, Anne Elise ‘18, and Addiemaymae '18