Sharing Histories: Second Time Around at the PJ Kennedy

Posted 14 March 2014 12:00 AM by Princess Bryant, Target Arts Teaching Artist Assistant in East Boston

New school, new students, same goal! The students at the PJ Kennedy have major experience with producing a production from their own stories. These young artists were able to participate last school year with the Target Arts Program working with Kelly Prestel and Toni Bee. This is great for the new teaching artist, Kayla, and I because they know what is expected as soon as we walk in. Their bright smiles and gracious hellos are so welcoming each Monday and Wednesday. This session we are learning about immigration and integration. Most of the students can connect easily to these subjects because they have members of their families who have immigrated to the United States. They are starting to converse and share stories of their parents and relatives experiences. They have begun to notice how different and similar they are with their classmates.

We introduced the students to Celia Cruz, a Cuban-born singer who traveled to the US. They have so many questions about why she left; who did she leave behind, and where are her family members now. Focusing more on the production aspect of the program, students have questions about salsa dance, the correct way to annunciate their words and how to incorporate integrity into their everyday lives. One student asked the question “What is a revolution” while Ms. Kayla was reading My Name is Celia/Me Llamo Celia: The Life of Celia Cruz/La Vida de Celia Cruz. We were unable to answer his question due to time. But the next session, one of his classmates told everyone how she actually went to the library to research what a revolution was for the class. As the session continues, they will learn all of these answers and more!

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