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South Carolina Teacher Visits Mexican School
Last month, ten teachers accompanied Bill Calvert to the monarch
sanctuary region. While there, they visited Escuela Benito Juarez. This school sits beneath the Sierra Chincua
sanctuary, and it's the winter home of some of your Symbolic Monarch butterflies. Teacher
Marty Siarkowski describes his experience as a highlight of a lifetime. Here is his report:
"A half hour ride up a steep, rocky, dirt road in the
back of an open pickup took us to the top of the mountain where the rural school school, Benito Juarez, is located.
The smiling faces of the children who greeted us made it well worth the bumpy ride. We were all missing our students
back home and it was the perfect "kid fix" we needed.
"We invaded their simply constructed, two room building
with all of our high tech gear- video camcorders, digital cameras, laptop computer and the sound equipment carried
by Peter Aronson from National Public Radio who accompanied us on our journey in Mexico.
"The students seemed as fascinated with us as we were
with them. Lovely pictures drawn by their teacher to illustrate the alphabet were the only visual aids we saw in
the class. We enjoyed answering their questions and telling them about our students. When I showed them the photos
of the students in my English as a Second language classes they were surprised to see that most of them are Mexican.
They also enjoyed the drawings, books in Spanish, pencils, and
treats that the teachers brought them. They sang two songs for us with sweet voices and gave us hand painted paper
Monarchs to bring back to students in the U.S. as part of the symbolic migration project.
"I didn't see many butterflies flying around the school that day, but the students were very knowledgeable
about the whole Monarch saga. We were reluctant to leave as Dr. Bill Calvert tried to round us up for our bone-rattling
ride back down the mountain. Some of the students took a precariously steep footpath to "head us off at the
pass" and we were able to wave good-by one more time before we disappeared into the dust. It was a beautiful
repaso - un dia que nunca olvidar.
St. Helena, South Carolina