Neal Math and Science Academy is soaring to new heights to recognize and celebrate the uniqueness and beauty of our students. On October 9th, the NMSA community celebrated our first Family Festival, with a special spotlight on Hispanic Heritage Month. The first NMSA Family Festival showcased the culmination of Hispanic Heritage Month with dance, songs, artwork, games and fantastic food! Approximately 400 guests attended, including many wonderful parents, siblings, and special relatives of our students. It was great to see our community come together and we look forward to more upcoming multicultural events.
The gymnasium was transformed with banners of paper flags hand-cut with care by the students of Ms. Lundstrom’s art classes and paper flowers designed by NCCP After-School Enrichment Program youth, in honor of the rich and vibrant histories within Latin America. Creativity continued during the event. Teachers and community volunteers facilitated craft and game stations provided by North Chicago Community Partners. Families enjoyed traditional Mexican bingo, as well as Pirinola Toma Todo, a game popular throughout Latin America. Children also created decorative skulls for Day of the Dead to God’s Eye ornaments, an ancient symbol made by the Huichol of Mexico and the Aymara of Bolivia.
While the activities ensued, the Mariachi Band and Folklore Dancers were a hit. Students in the Mariachi Club with Mr. Rivera were inspired to continue developing their skills. Families listened while enjoying beef Barbacoa tacos courtesy of The Otherdoor in Lake Bluff, while others got up and danced! Between Mariachi sets, Folkloric dance routines were performed by Flor de Corezon, sponsored by Opportunities for All.
Families brought the fun home with crafted Pirinola games to play and an assortment of rice, beans and fresh produce to cook together, accompanied with recipe books by students in the Fresh Start Program.