Spanish week celebrates Panamanian culture

As our world continues to grow culturally, it is important to expose our students to different languages, cultures, foods and customs. Our lower school friends celebrated Spanish Week on April 4-8 and highlighted the country of Panama.

“We have been successful in bringing authentic performers unique to each country,” said Socorro Montoya-Mann, lower school Spanish teacher. “We search [throughout] Hampton Roads in order to bring a real folkloric experience for our students. We have honored eight different countries since I came to Collegiate eight years ago,” she continued. “Another aspect I enjoy is involving kindergarten through fifth-grade students by performing, giving presentations and making decorations for the celebration.”

Annually, Spanish Week concludes with a morning celebration which highlights the country for the week. This year, Mann invited authentic Panamanian dancers to perform at Collegiate and our students were able to dress in cultural cloths to make for a holistic experience.

“I learned that Panama is a bright, happy place,” said Emma Reaghard ’23. “They dress really nicely; I love their outfits and music. And one of the Panamanian ladies helped me decorate my hair.”

Our students also learn current and historical facts about the country along with celebrating art and music, which allowed them to compare and contrast Latin American countries to their own.

“I am a native speaker, and I grew up with my parents in Mexico. I am very proud of my culture and the Spanish language,” said Mann. “Spanish is a very passionate language where all cultural aspects play an important role in the way we celebrate life and in the way we speak our language. The customs, traditions, music, food and art all lives within the language.”