We BELIEVE teaching students about their heritage through different cultures allows them to interact with a wider range of social groups and feel more confident about themselves.
At Overland Trail Middle School, students are learning about their own heritage and creating a sense of community through an after school club called Journey Through Our Heritage, which is operated in partnership with Metropolitan State University (MSU) Denver’s Chicana/o Studies Department.
As part of their after-school program, students created a storyboard illustrated as a tree to show they are still growing, but stand strong together. Each student put their handprint on the tree illustration using a color from their family’s homeland flag. Students added their own words to describe their personalities. The title of the piece is “Somos OTMS,” which translates as “We are OTMS.”
The program included a trip to MSU where students could meet other students from different schools who have similar interests in expressing cultural history.
Students saw the Huitzilopochtli Aztec Group dancers perform a ceremony blessing. The dance is a form of prayer used to honor the spirits and send well wishes for everyone present. Going through three stations, students learned about story-telling. For example, they learned about their "Corn Mothers," which are women from their life experiences that have had a positive impact. Throughout history, healing has been approached differently by various cultures. At this event, students examined healing through spoken word and cultural expressions.
Overall, the experience brought students across all grades at Overland Trail together, and prepared them for an April competition when students will compete against each other in creating a mural showcasing their history, heritage, cultural values and meaningful traditions.
The Journey Through Our Heritage club members at Overland Trail and the collaborative experiences they shared with other schools and MSU Denver is just one more #ReasontoBelieve. #IBelievein27JSchools