Student project celebrates stories of Latinos in Nebraska

A special event Friday night celebrated the work of students from Lincoln Northeast High School, Lincoln North Star High School and Lincoln High School who have completed an oral history project that celebrates the stories of Latinos in Nebraska.

The roughly 60 students involved in the event are enrolled in a course, Spanish for Spanish Speakers - Level Three, designed for students who already speak Spanish at home. In this course, they’re able to expand their vocabulary and maintain the Spanish they already know through reading and studying history.

For this project, students interviewed family or friends who were born outside the United States of America about their life experiences, both in their native countries and in Nebraska. They recorded the interviews and wrote essays in Spanish about what they learned. The students also created posters that feature select responses and photos of those who were interviewed. Friday's event, “Nuestros Tesoros: Historias Reales De Las Vidas Latinas De Lincoln” (Our Treasures: Real Stories of Lincoln's Latino Lives), was at El Centro De Las Américas and allowed students to share their work with family and friends.

The students are taught by Melissa Hernandez from Northeast, Marcie Castillo from North Star and Janet Eckerson from Lincoln High.

“We hope that our students learn something new from their parents, friends or other family members who they interviewed,” Hernandez said. “Our focus is that everyone has a story to tell.”

Mayra Carmona, a tenth-grader at Northeast, interviewed her mom and heard stories about how her parents met while growing up in Mexico. “I found out a lot of new stuff about them.”

Graciela Bravo, a 12th-grader at Northeast, interviewed her aunt and uncle, both of whom were born in Mexico before eventually moving to Nebraska. “They were able to form a family here. There would have been less opportunity in Mexico and they wouldn’t have been able to grow financially.”

Said Hernandez: “Our students put a lot of work into this project are proud of the outcome."

Published: March 27, 2019, Updated: April 2, 2019

"Our focus is that everyone has a story to tell."

Melissa Hernandez, Spanish teacher at Northeast High School