Letter to the Editor: Cinco de Mayo
May 7, 2011 turned out to be a great day. It was the day of East Carbon's "El Cinco de Mayo." There was a hitch that took place, like no carnival, but the weather and the people cooperated with the celebration of the day at Viking Park.
As I prepared for the celebration, I was taken back in time to when I first heard of "El Cinco de Mayo". It was in 1978, the teacher and director that were brought in to manage the new program, bilingual education, Chris and Rudy Roybal, introduced it into the public school system. The students learned how to count, colors, months, and season of the year. They learned dances and songs that were simple. Out of the group of people that started with the bilingual education, three became elementary teachers. After the introducation there was a program every year until 1980.
Then in 1986 when I had the opportuninty to pick-up the celebration once again that's when it began until 1996. The bilingual education Program had run out but the state office of education felt that a Spanish program needed to be in the schools. So they tried a pilot program where they hired from different locations in the state a classroom Spanish teacher, a native speaker but not a certified teacher, and that's how I got in.
I have some folks that I need to show appreciation to for their help and cooperation in putting on the performances; Mrs. Concha Montoya and Mrs. Anita Fredricksen-Mestas. Then the music program; Darrell Valdez, Margeret and Johnnie Whelan. Then the dinners all the students in my spanish classes helped prepare and my right hand, Polly Jarmillo, and the kids parents.
But especially want to say thanks to the students that took part. I rememer this one student made the comment of "I thought basketball season was over, I have gotten more exercise learning these dances than doing ladders in baskeball practice." One students birthday was even on "El Cinco de Mayo."
Then in 2005, the new Mayor. Mayor De La Fontaine approached some individuals within the Hispanic Community of East Carbon and suggested the celebration. They contacted me and asked for my help in the development of the program. I was very happy to be of service.
What I want people to take away from this letter is that in the 1970s we learned how Hispanics have always truimphed over their foes, celebrating the win of the war with a vary small army of peasants at Pueblea, Mexico over the French. Then in 1986, it was to try to bring back the respect for our elders in our families, which has always been the corner stone of our heritage not only for our elders but for anyone who is in authority.
In 2005 the celebration was to bring in the younger folks who took part in "El Cinco de Mayo" events in the past to lead the future of our Hispanic Community.
Thank you East Carbon, and all of Carbon and Emery Counties, for supporting this celebration since the 1970s to the present.