Tuesday, January 31, 2012

¡Un Gran Dia en La Feria Para Aprender!

Spanish-speaking families flocked to the North Austin Event Center January 28 for the sixth annual Feria Para Aprender Spanish-language education fair. I joined thousands of families who came to learn about health, education, college preparation, and other important topics. Event hosts were encouraged to wear T-Shirts from their college, so I wore a T-shirt from my alma mater, Tulane. Thanks to Melanie Curriel, a kindergarten teacher at Metz, for helping me track one down!

At the ribbon-cutting that began the event, I joined Congressman Lloyd Doggett and his wife Libby, and event founder Sylvia Acevedo in welcoming participants, stressing the importance of getting involved early in a child’s education and encouraging students to aim high for academic success every step of the way.

Many AISD departments, nonprofit organizations and several higher education institutions, along with our community non-profits, were on hand to answer questions ranging from topics in early childhood education to how to find and complete scholarship applications. Career professionals spoke about their experiences and the benefits of education. Children received free eye tests, and we all had the chance to check our blood pressure. Since good health and good vision are cornerstones of success in school, I particularly appreciated the support of the Seton Family of Hospitals, St. David's and other health-care providers.

New this year were sections devoted specifically to teenagers. Girl and boy “Teen Zones” informed families about resources available for teens. At the Anti-Bullying zone, families learned about the warning signs of bullying, and experts helped parents understand the many forms of cyber-bullying.

This event is a terrific way for our district to communicate with our Spanish-speaking families, and I appreciate all of those who worked so hard to make the day a success!
Claudia Santamaria, coordinator of the district's parent support specialists, and her daughter Sophia, first grade student at Ridgetop elementary. Sophia's Spanish is awesome!

Shane Vaughan, program site coordinator and optician. Essilor vision expected to provide more than 200 screenings for children. The majority of children whom the doctor determined needed glasses received their glasses onsite. Other glasses will be sent to schools.
Feria event organizer and community advocate extraordinaire, Sylvia Acevedo.