Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Un beso y una flor

A kiss and a flower.

Although the song sounds much better in Spanish, that's what the host moms (and dads!) received as their students stepped down from the stage and made their wait to their waiting families as our fiesta de despedida came to a close. This year, the  fiesta de despedida was not only a "thank you" to our host families for their support and dedication but also a celebration of our Program's 10th summer here in León. 

With Isra serving as our MC for the evening, there was plenty of laughter to mix with the inevitable tears.

And the students were definitely excited when Bea (who works at Taste of America) arrived. As the shop has been a big part of the students' experience here in León, she kindly offered to say a few words on behalf of the owner and complimented the students' excellent behavior and their Spanish. 
 The first half of the fiesta de despedida, Sara and Melissa's afternoon activity groups presented their obras. Sara's group wrote their own telenovela entitled Tres churros y dos cuerpos. 

And Melissa's group did a noticiero, or news program, called La Cebolla
Amanda Aders closed with a solo rendition of the song Una palabra. 
We started the second act with few words from a veteran host mom, Cruz García, who wanted the opportunity to not just hear gracias for what she has done but also to give thanks for all she has received through her participation in the Program. 
Then, Lizzie Berry followed with her rendition of Eres tú. 
After Lizzie's beautiful song, Isra's afternoon activity group presented a short play entitled Amor, cacerolas, y ladrones.

The last student performance of the evening was by my afternoon activity group and they presented ¡Atrás hay lugar! In case you're wondering about the scene in the background, the play is set in a city bus. 

Then Melissa, our linguistics instructor and student coordinator, reflected briefly on her first summer here in León and offered thanks to Sira, our onsite coordinator here in León. Sira added her gratitude and thanks to the team and families alike. 

Before the students added their personal "thank you's" onstage and as part of our "10 summers in León" celebration, Isra formally recognized our veteran host families and called them up on stage. Their years, fidelity and commitment to the Honors Program were documented on certificates which each family proudly received.
 This group of host families has been with us at least three summers.
The group below have been with us for five or more summers.

This last group is that of our most-seasoned host moms, those who have been with us since the beginning!
The certificates and formal recognition of the host families were an first for the Program, but something we hope to repeat as we look forward to and start to plan our NEXT 10 years hear in León. As is tradition, we ran short on time and the doorman at the Ayuntamiento was eager to get home for dinner. But before he put us out, we had to take at least one team picture. ¡Viva León! ¡Viva León! ¡Viva León!

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