AP NEWS

Taking the stage: Elementary students delight with traditional dances

February 23, 2019

The spirit of Charro Days was alive and well Friday when Putegnat Elementary students took the stage during the school’s 4th Annual Charro Days Fiesta Mexicana.

Parents packed the gym ready to take photos and videos of their children performing choreography to popular songs including “El Mariachi Loco,” “Baila esta Cumbia” and “Tao Tao.”

The event was so well-attended during the first year that it hosts a morning and afternoon performance to accommodate the students’ family members, Principal Aidee Vasquez said.

“The parents are very appreciative because we’re doing so many activities where we include them,” she said. “It helps with (students’) self-confidence … and they see how their school and parents are forming a positive relationship.”

The fiesta also serves as a kick-off to Sombrero Fest and Charro Days, Vasquez said, which is part of the children’s community.

“We also teach the kids about customs and the relationship between the United States and Mexico, and between Brownsville and Mexico,” she said.

Teachers and students start preparing for the event at least six weeks in advance. Girls were outfitted in traditional Mexican dresses while boys donned cowboy boots and hats for the occasion. Vasquez said a new addition this year was the children’s grito contest.

“My favorite part is seeing the parents’ faces when they see their kids on stage. They light up, and they’re so happy,” she added. “They get to see a different side of their kids. We have some kids who are so shy, but up on the dance floor they’re not shy.”

Ana Salinas is a counselor at the school and parent to a third-grader.

“I love it. I think it’s a great way to show our culture to our kids and have the community participate,” she said. “As parents, we really enjoy seeing our kids perform.”

Mary Martinez attended to watch her daughters perform with their kindergarten classes. It was their first time taking part in the Fiesta Mexicana.

“I find it so enjoyable to watch just because the kids are having a good time,” she said. “It’s really thoughtful, and I’m glad they do it.”

nadia@brownsvilleherald.com