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Bienvenidos a la Noche Internacional

Students in Clough's Thais Lopez's Kindergarten class perform a salsa-style dance at June 7 International Night at Memorial School. International Night is a Clough and Memorial school tradition for the students and families of the Spanish Immersion Program to celebrate different cultures through food, music, and dancing.

"Bienvenidos a la Noche Internacional." That was the sign that greeted you upon entering the Memorial Elementary School on the evening of June 7 for International Night. A Memorial and Clough school combined tradition, International Night is a chance for students and the families of the Spanish Immersion Program from kindergarten through fourth grades to celebrate the different countries through food, music and dance. For the past few years, the teachers at the two schools have coordinated a night for students to display writing samples, works of art, and demonstrate their mastery of the language and the culture through performances.

The evening began with a feast of Spanish and Latin American appetizers, main courses, and desserts, all made by the families. Some of the dishes included frittatas, Spanish rice and beans, arrozo con pollo (chicken and rice), and Macedonia da fruta tropical (fruit salad).

After the buffet dinner, students took to the stage to perform dancing or singing routines that they had been practicing for the past few weeks. From Clough's Thais Lopez's Kindergarten class salsa dancing to "Bamboleo," to Memorial's third and fourth grade boys dancing to "El baile de la ola," to the entire group of students singing "Wavin' Flag," there was non-stop entertainment for the hour and a half presentation.

Along with Superintendent Dr. Joseph Maruszczak and Clough Principal Jan Gallagher, Memorial Principal Debra Swain thanked the students and parents, and thanked the Spanish Immersion Teachers who "made this night possible." To thunderous claps from the students and parents, Swain introduced Clough Teachers Thais Lopez (Kindergarten), Jennifer Hall (1st grade), Emelia Gamboni (2nd grade), Esther Willinski (3rd grade), Kharen Torres-Garcia (4th grade), and their assistants Omaira Thornton, Diana Rodriguez, Yasmine Esteve, and Larissa Olaso; and Memorial teachers Katie Cardamone (3rd grade) and Elizabeth Jette (4th grade) and their assistant Anna Sanz Gomez. Swain also commented on the significance of the evening after the evening. "I feel International Night is important because it's a great opportunity for us to come together as a community of learners to celebrate the great work that is done each day in the classroom," she said.

Liz Doyle, mother of Catherine (grade 3) and Meredith (grade 1), both of whom are in the Spanish Immersion Program, comments, "It is wonderful for the students to be able to celebrate as a family at the end of the year."

Clough teacher Jennifer Hall, said that the teachers have a compelling reason for putting this night together year after year. "We are so proud of our students, and we want them to show off how much they have learned throughout the year," she said.

As happy as the adults were with the turnout and performances, the students were even more enthusiastic. "It was great!" said 4th grade Spanish Immersion student Nicole Walsh. Nicole's grandparents traveled all the way from Northamptonshire, England to see her perform in her "favorite" part of the evening. "I loved my class's dance to "Amigos para siempre," meaning friends forever," she said.


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