During our arts & technology program this year, World School students from many different countries participated in several projects to help strengthen their new English language and technical skills. For the “Cultural Traditions” project, the students received a visit from Jack Straw writer Claudia Castro Luna, who spoke with the students about her life growing up in El Salvador and leaving to come to the United States. Many of the students understood and identified with her story, having been through so much war and change themselves. Claudia is now writing down the stories from her life. She encouraged the students to share their stories, too.
The students captured and shared stories of their culture in this special project on their holiday traditions. Jack Straw writer Kathleen Flenniken encouraged and coaxed the memories from the students’ minds and hearts. Why was this holiday special to them? What sounds did they hear; what foods did they smell? Who came to celebrate with them?
After working hard to write their stories, the students came to the Jack Straw Cultural Center to record their writing and create sound effects. Writer Kathleen Flenniken, vocal coaches Meg McLynn and Christine Marie Brown, ELL teacher Laurel Saito, production interns Daniel Guenther and Jake Muir, audio engineers CJ Lazenby and Tom Stiles, and chapbook designer Levi Fuller helped the students share the holiday memories found in the Holiday Moments chapbook and CD. Listen to some of the produced pieces below.
Special thanks to the City of Seattle Community Technology, the Washington State Arts Commission, 4Culture King County Lodging Tax Fund, and the National Endowment for the Arts for making this program possible.
Claudia Castro Luna
Claudia Castro Luna is Washington State Poet Laureate. She served as Seattle’s Civic Poet, from 2015-2017 and is the author of the Pushcart nominated Killing Marías, (Two…READ MORE >