McPolin goes all out for Cinco de Mayo | ParkRecord.com

McPolin goes all out for Cinco de Mayo

Dale Thompson, Of the Record staff

Seven year old Yuki Natiuidad danced during Friday night s Cinco de Mayo party held at McPolin Elementary School.

Swirling skirts, paper flowers and a Mariachi band were all part of the fiesta at McPolin Elementary on Friday when nearly 250 people gathered at the school to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.

The second annual fiesta event included a potluck of traditional Mexican dishes and performances by the students.

Principal Lori O’Connor thanked the many parents who helped organize the event and explained why they decided to host a Cinco de Mayo party again this year.

"We had a wonderful response last year and it is a way for our children to develop a better understanding and appreciation of other cultures," she said.

Parent volunteer Lynn Peek said this year’s party was more organized than the year before and it gave the students an opportunity to celebrate a Mexican holiday.

"We have so many Hispanic families in the school and this is one way to connect to their culture," Peek said.

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According to O’Connor nearly 22 percent of the students at McPolin are from Spanish-speaking families, many of whom were present on Friday.

The students did several things to prepare for the evening. School counselor Hugo Mesa said a folkloric dance teacher worked with the students for several weeks so they could learn a variety of traditional Mexican dances to perform for the audience. All of the students participated.

Fifth grader Riley Peek explained the dance she participated in.

"It’s kind of a group dance, and the boys have sticks they hit together with the beat and the girls have skirts they twirl around in," she said.

Mesa said they also dedicated a portion of class time to learning about the Hispanic culture.

Students also did a variety of related arts and crafts projects for Cinco de Mayo. They decorated the auditorium for the event. They made Mexican flags from colored paper, and hung paper flowers from the ceiling.

"Everybody should know it’s a really good party and that McPolin celebrates all races and religions," said third-grader Ellie Meyer.