On Nov. 15, 580 Grade 5/6 students from the Calgary Board of Education and Calgary Catholic School District’s Spanish Bilingual Program gathered at the Shane Homes YMCA at Rocky Ridge. The initiative was designed to cultivate learner investment in language learning, to foster community connections with local artistic talent and to build students’ appreciation for the cultural and linguistic diversity that exists within the Spanish-speaking world.
Students engaged in workshops ranging from photography to spoken word with seven artists from Calgary’s Latino-Canadian community - Vicky Velasco, Carolina Slim, Maya Corona, Rebecca Dawn, Sara Mancera, Dayana Duven and Analia Muñoz. The event also included an interactive talk with Dr. Mary Grantham O’Brien, professor of Languages, Linguistics and Cultures at the University of Calgary and program alumni, Hana Bagorio, who is currently working towards her degree in Spanish and Education. In her kid-friendly talk, Dr. O’Brien likened language learning to the golden ticket in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and described how this 21st-century competency has an almost magical power to open doors for their future.