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Cinco de Mayo celebrated at Goliad school with student songs, dances

By LOURDES VAZQUEZ
May 5, 2010 at 12:05 a.m.

The Ballet Folkloric de Goliad performed for the Cinco de Mayo celebration. Students clapped as the girls tapped faster in the traditional song, "La Raspa."

What is it Cinco De Mayo?

It is the Battle of Puebla in which Mexico beat the French army.

The battle took place in 1862. Goliad is the birth place of the General Ignacio Zaragoza who led the Mexican Army.

GOLIAD - Deep historical roots leading back to Mexico's Battle of Puebla were remembered on Wednesday in Goliad.

Students from the Goliad elementary and intermediate schools filled their gymnasium to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.

"It's the first time in several years (the program is held)," said Virginia McDonald, Goliad elementary principal.

Historical figures, including Benito Juarez, Abraham Lincoln, Maximilian of Austria and Napoleon, made their appearance as students spoke of their participation in the Battle of Puebla.

"I'm trying to expose our students to some of the local history because it's so close to here," said Irma Gutierrez, English Language Learner teacher.

Gutierrez tries to relate the history of Mexico and the significance it has to Goliad, the state, and the United States.

For example, it is the birthplace of Gen. Ignacio Zaragoza, who lead the Mexican Army to the win over the French in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862.

For Emilio Vargas IV, 11, the tradition and significance of the day has been passed down from generation to generation.

"My family has been involved a lot, I like the tradition," Emilio said.

"The hero of Cinco de Mayo was born here," said Gutierrez.

First-graders took the floor with two dances and Spanish songs.

"If they learn at a young age they'll be able to learn it and keep it," said Lupita Silva, 18, a senior at Goliad High School and 2010 Miss Zaragoza.

The 18-year-old, who teaches the local ballet folklorico, had some of her students perform.

"It's a fun way to learn," said Dana Portillo, 11, of performing and the assembly.

Lupita found the event to be beneficial not only as a learning experience, but also for her culture.

"My roots are very strong, I'm proud of what I do," said Lupita, whose father was born in Mexico.

The senior closed the assembly with two Mariachi songs, which she sang during the Association of Texas Small School Bands Mariachi regional try-outs.

"I just hope they learn to appreciate (the history) and keep it going," said Lupita.

Related: Editorial - Celebrate Cinco de Mayo today

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