This week we chat with Marcela Estevez, director of student affairs at the Redlands Christian Migrant Association’s Wimauma charter schools. She was born in Mexico City, and has been at Wimauma academy for the last 10 years.
The school provides early education and care for children of migrant farm workers and low-income families through its Wimauma (grades K-5) and Leadership (grades 6-8) academies. With Hispanic Heritage Month kicking off Sept. 15 — and continuing through Oct. 15 — Estevez discusses how the academy’s plans for the monthlong celebration and the importance of having the school’s 242 students honor their culture.
Q: How does the student body at the RCMA Wimauma charter schools differ from that of other elementary and middle schools?
Answer: They are not different. They belong to the same community and their parents have to face the same problems. They just learn that in this school we care for them; for their education and their success in life.
Q: What are some of the ways the school is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month this year?
Answer: We started with a celebration at the beginning of September during the parent meeting (salute the flags, a song by the kindergarten students and decoration). Teachers also have several projects and activities related to the festivities.
Q: Why do you think it’s important for your students to learn about and celebrate their heritage?
Answer: Our students need to find their own identity and be proud of it. Be proud of their parents, their culture, their language and themselves.
Q: What is the best part of working at the RCMA Wimauma Academy?
Answer: To know that I am able to change the life of even a single person through our daily work.
Q: What is your favorite Latin-style dish (and why)?
Answer: I really don’t have a preference, although my favorite for obvious reasons, is Mexican. I love spices and anything made with corn tortilla, like tacos, tostadas, enchiladas; the very traditional Mexican dishes.