ONTARIO – Over 500 people gathered on the green field of Ontario Middle School on Thursday evening for Family Fiesta, a celebration of Latinx art, culture, and the end to four weeks of summer school.
Students and families endured the 102-degree heat with energizing dance performances, artwork, and ice-cold refreshments enjoyed in the shade of sun umbrellas. A stage set up in the parking lot, plus booths and art displays around the field, showed off the students’ work.
The fiesta was the first year where all five summer school sites, ranging from pre-k to high school, celebrated together, said Xochitl Fuhriman-Ebert, Ontario Summer School principal.
“The main purpose is to keep our youth engaged throughout the summer in learning and make those lifelong connections,” said Fuhriman-Ebert. “School isn’t always just sitting behind a desk and writing a paper – learning is a lifelong skill.”
In addition to cultural and artistic education, the summer programs provided an array of classes, ranging from meditation to robotics to escape rooms.
Six binational teachers from Mexico also joined the summer faculty this year, bringing unique experiences and expertise to local youth. Teachers at the fiesta manned booths, ladled pineapple juice and nachos, and joined in the celebration of their students and their heritage.
“Whether through the arts, writing, dance, or food – [students] were able to appreciate their heritage, where they come from, and share it with other youth,” said Fuhriman-Ebert. “It goes a long way.”
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