(As reported by Carrie Meng, Press-Enterprise Correspondent; June 1, 2013)
In April, sixth-graders at Riverside’s Madison Elementary School got an assignment unlike any other.
They were told to incorporate the 10 core values of Cesar Chavez, an American farm worker and civil rights leader, into original poems and photographs.
The project was part of a history lesson for the sixth-grade curriculum.
A youth arts exhibit featuring poems and photography from sixth-graders at Madison Elementary School is set for the Cesar Chavez Community Center on Monday, June 3, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Students incorporated Cesar Chavez’s 10 core values into their work. (Photo by Carrie Meng; source: PE.com)
“They were able to connect the 10 core values with real world things,” said James Luna, a writing teacher who spearheaded the project. All sixth graders students could submit photos and poetry on the theme.
This was the first time students participated such an event, Luna said.
“They really tuned into his values and I’m really impressed,” he said.
The students also got a lesson in photography fundamentals from Carlos Puma, a Riverside photographer. They learned about topics such as positioning, lighting and story-telling moments.
“They were great, real sharp,” Puma said. “They asked a lot of questions and you could see they were picking up on what I was saying.”
The students used iPod touches issued by the elementary school to take the photos.
One sixth-grader, Giovanni Mejia, wrote a poem connecting the value of knowledge to libraries.
“I learned that you can never stop learning,” Giovanni said.
Another student, Grace Jung, said,
“trying new things are challenging, but they aren’t as hard as you think.”
The finished projects were part of a Youth Arts Exhibit at the Cesar Chavez Community Center on Monday, June 3 as part of Cesar Chavez Memorial Week, which leads to the unveiling of a Chavez monument in downtown Riverside on Saturday, June 8.
“It was a long time ago for students in elementary school today, but they need to be connected to and understand that period,” said Ley Yeager, a committee member who coordinated the exhibit.
Connecting the history and values of Cesar Chavez not only teaches students the heritage and diversity within this Unified City, but also fosters an appreciation for the adversity, determination and hard work that created the world they live in today through artistic expression.
To read the full article as published on PE.com, click here. To read a summary of the 10 Core Values of Cesar Chavez, click here.