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Welcome everyone to the next episode of Provo City School District’s What’s Up With The Sup podcast. I am Superintendent Wendy Dau. In recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month, I am speaking with three guests from Dixon Middle School. Lucy Ordaz Sanchez is a FACS and Food Sciences teacher at Dixon Middle. She is also the advisor for the Latinos in Action program at Dixon. I will also be joined by two students at Dixon who are part of the Latinos in Action program and we will be discussing LIA, as well as Hispanic Heritage Month and how these guests strive to share and promote their heritage.
But before we bring in the guests, here are some updates for this upcoming week.
- Please continue to check your school’s website, calendar, and social media for important information and dates.
- The next school board meeting will be a study session and a business meeting on Tuesday, October 10th. The study session will begin at 4:30 p.m. and it is held in Boardroom 1 at the district office. Our business meeting will start at 7:00 p.m. and will be held in the Professional Development Center, also at the district office. Both meetings are open to the public and the business meeting is open for public input.
- The end of the first term is coming up on October 18th.
- Fall break is coming up in a couple of weeks. Fall break for students will be from October 19th through October 24th. Teachers will return to work for a professional development day on Tuesday, October 24th, and students will return to class on Wednesday, October 25th. We hope you enjoy this wonderful break.
- Look for the weekly video cast from me every Friday. In this short video, I provide important information and updates about work happenings throughout the district.
And now for some shout outs.
- First and foremost, we want to acknowledge our tech department for Cybersecurity Awareness Month.
- We also want to give a shout out to our Facilities Department for Energy Awareness Month and for doing a great job with our Custodian Recognition Day last Monday.
- It is also October, which is Principals Appreciation Month. More to come on that as the month progresses.
Wendy: So welcome everyone to this week’s podcast. We are featuring some students from our Latinos in Action program at Dixon Middle School and our LIA advisor from Dixon Middle School. So I’m going to introduce them and they’re going to help me with the correct pronunciations of their names, because this becomes a very important part of people’s identities and sometimes we just gloss over it and act like it’s not important to pronounce people’s names correctly. And it is really important. So I’m going to try and they’re going to correct me and we’re going to get this right. So we have Lucy Ordaz Sanchez and she is our teacher. Tell us a little bit about yourself. How long have you been at Dixon Middle School? Um, what subjects do you teach? Give us all the good details about your job here.
Lucy: Okay. So I have been here at Dixon for 14 years. This is my 14th year. Um, I teach Latinos in Action, I teach Foods, and I teach CCA, College and Career Awareness. It was my dream to work at Dixon. Even before I graduated, I would see, like, my brother lived really close by. And so I would see kids walk by, and I would dream of teaching at Dixon. So here I am.
Wendy: 14 years later.
Lucy: For 14 years.
Wendy: Oh, this is incredible. I love that. And then we also have Maximo, you’re gonna have to help me with this part, Aguilera.
Wendy: Aguilera her – Herrera
Wendy: Herrera. Did I get that kind of right? Okay, Maximo. Alright, so translate for us. Maximo, tell us what grade you’re in. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Um, what you love about Dixon Middle School.
Lucy (Translating for Maximo): En qué de Dixon? Y poquito de ti.
Maximo: Okay, yo estoy en octavo grado y… La verdad es que este es mi segundo año en Dixon. Yo llegué a los Estados Unidos el año pasado, en noviembre.
Lucy (Translating for Maximo): En qué de Dixon? Y poquito de ti. Uh, oh, I was gonna repeat it in Spanish. So, this is his second year in, um, Dixon, at Dixon. He came… to the U. S. last year. Perfect.
Wendy: And what grade are you in?
Lucy (Translating for Maximo): Eighth grade.
Wendy: Eighth grade. Thank you. And then we also have Alexia Calderon. Did I do that correctly? Yes. Okay, Alexia, tell us a little bit about yourself. What grade are you in? What do you love about Dixon Middle School? All the good things.
Alexia: Um, I’m in eighth grade. And something I like about Dixon is, I don’t know, the teachers are just so understanding and so like, they, you can tell that they actually care about your education.
Wendy: I love that. And it’s so interesting because every time I walk into the school, there’s just such an incredible feeling here. Like the teachers really do, it’s like you’re a family, right? It’s, it’s awesome. So love this. Okay. Are we ready to, to start chatting a little bit? So I’m going to talk with, uh, Miss Ordaz Sanchez. Did I get that right?
Wendy: Okay. Good.
Lucy: And the students just call me Miss Ordaz. It’s too long.
Wendy: Too long. So Miss Ordaz.
Wendy: Okay. Perfect. So, um, tell us a little bit about, um, what Latinos in Action is, what is the purpose of the program, and how do students get involved in it?
Lucy: Okay. So Latinos in Action has three main pillars. Um, our goal for this program or the goal of the CEO, um, Dr. Jose Enriquez that started it, is for them to embrace their culture and be proud of it, learn more about it and not forget about it. Um, to encourage them to get to college or higher education, however, that might look – technical career or something more than just high school. And then also, um, encourage service in the community. So there’s a lot of service involved in and being part of the class. It’s an elective, but they do have to apply to be part of the class.
Wendy: So there’s a level of commitment.
Wendy: Like, I want to be part of this. I want to develop this skill set.
Lucy: And it’s a one year commitment. So you’re giving up two electives to be part of it.
Wendy: Oh, wow. So you have to be very dedicated that this is what you want to, what you want to do.
Wendy: Okay. And is this program available in all of our Provo City School District schools? Is it just a secondary program? Tell us a little bit about that.
Lucy: So it is available, um, it’s, uh, a new pilot that they’re starting in elementary school. I’m not sure we have started it, but some districts have started elementary, but middle school, um, Centennial and Dixon has it, and then both of our high schools have it. I’m not sure if Independence is, uh, active, but at one point they did have a small group of students.
Wendy: Perfect. Why do you feel that students choose this class? It’s something they have to apply for. They have to give up two electives, which is a lot. So why, in your experience, why are they picking this class?
Lucy: I think, uh, some of them hear the rumors, right, or have siblings that have been part of the class. Um, but mainly I think it’s coming together with people from their culture. Um, I’ve had students share in writing or just in comments how they feel like family when they’re in this class. And it’s, and it’s a very different feeling to have them come, I switch from Spanish to English. I use sayings that their parents use. I, you know, like I give them the dirty look that parents and they recognize it. Right. And, we like, I joke, like… it comes to me very natural and they accept it very natural because it’s something that they live on a daily basis at home right. And we just laugh about. The silly things about our culture and, um, you know, we talk about the things that we want to change from our parents, right. The way they did things or how their parents did it. Um, so it’s just, it’s very unified at the end of the class or the year, the class is like a family, like in past years, a student was injured and kids wanted to go visit in the hospital. And those that couldn’t go, they made a card and we sent it off. Um, if somebody’s absent, I communicate with them through Remind, like what’s going on, right? Like they have a chat going on through text and they’re always checking in with each other, joking with each other. Um, so even if somebody didn’t know somebody in class, they will very likely end up with at least a handful of friends, if not friends with the whole class.
Wendy: I think I see a lot of posters tied to, uh, LIA where it’s like “La Familia”, you know, so it’s really a part, you really are part of a family and acknowledging that and then helping to buoy each other up, right?
Lucy: We have an actual curriculum that we’re assigned, right. But we adapt it the way we want to, and in the order that we want to, um, and some of the activities that I do, I’ve really enjoyed making them cry. I really enjoy them reaching to their vulnerable side. And that’s what I tell them at the beginning. Things that we share here remain here, right? I’m going to be sharing things about my life that I’m sharing because I trust you. Students will trust you with certain things. This is, this is our family that it stays here, right? So there’s things that moments that they are feeling their emotions and I tell them, it’s okay, whatever you’re feeling, right? You want to cry, cry it out. Like, we don’t laugh, we don’t tease, and it just, it is what it is.
Wendy: So you really have created this, um, space where everyone can feel like, I, I really can be a genuine, this is, this is who I am really deep down, like, and, and I’m talking with other people who really do understand what it’s like to be me.
Lucy: Right. And I, I just had this image. I think it was last year of the year before I had a student, very shy. I taught her as a seventh grader, hardly spoke up in class. I’ve realized she was really funny. She had this thing. She would walk in the door and bust out dancing. She always did this Russian thing. And that was her thing. She would always do it. And you would have never… I would have never thought to see that side because I thought she was very shy. And when I told her, you know, I think of you and I just see you dancing and she’s like, this is the only place I can truly be myself.
Wendy: So you’re seeing that on a, on a daily basis. So, um, Alexia, tell us a little bit about why you wanted to join Latinos in Action.
Alexia: Like, hearing it from last year, a lot of 8th graders that I had classes with, they would say, Oh yeah, in L. A. we did this, and Ms. Ordaz this, and it was just… you could feel, like, the energy that came off from that class, and it just sounded like everyone communicated with each other and it just sounded so fun and I want to learn more about how to embrace my culture instead of… Cause there’s a lot of kids that are told very mean things for how their culture is.
Wendy: So yeah. So this, this really gives you a space to explore that culture, to feel safe in saying, no, this is, this is part of me and I love it. And we need to find a space where our kids, where our kids know that, that you don’t have to discard that, right? So. Awesome. Okay. Maximo, your turn. Tell us a little bit about why you joined LIA.
Maximo: Bueno, yo me uní porque yo quería un reto para mi persona.
Lucy (Translating for Maximo): Um, I joined because I wanted a personal challenge.
Wendy: And so you felt like that this class with its emphasis on leadership and scholarship and service was a way in which you could challenge yourself.
Wendy: Give me an example of – Maximo of, um, something where you feel like the class specifically has challenged you, whether it’s in, it’s challenged you to get outside of the box, do something maybe you wouldn’t have done otherwise.
Lucy (Translating for Maximo): This class is the reason I come to school every day.
Lucy: Oh, that must make you feel really great as, as his teacher. So that’s incredible. Okay. So Alexia, you tell us a little bit about a challenge or how this class has helped you to, um, maybe get outside of your comfort zone or do something you wouldn’t have normally done.
Alexia: Well, like Ms. Ordaz was saying, she, she’s like, I don’t know, she’s like more like family, like instead of a teacher, like a lot of teachers are very different from how they would be like at home with their family or with their kids or with their husbands or wives and she’s more like a parent like she’s she’s like..
Wendy: Like a second mom almost?
Alexia: yes Like she’s very she pushes us to do our best and she we can relate to her a lot And stop, don’t look at me like that.
Wendy: You’re going to make her cry. So for both of you, she knows that you can accomplish really incredible things and she pushes you to do that and challenges you to do that. Is that, is that kind of what I’m hearing?
Alexia: A lot of us were raised knowing our relatives as like… they don’t really like go as far as they can in life. And she’s a very good example of what we could do in the future and she lets us know that there’s more than just there’s a lot more careers out there that she helps us find and
Wendy: So that you could really find something that you love doing but it might be something different than what traditionally what your family has done and that’s okay. Like we’re just doing something different, right? We’re still very much valuing what our family Has taught us and, and the influence they have, but, but we get to explore even more things.
Wendy: That’s awesome. Okay. So, um, what do you feel like Maximo are some of the benefits both to you and to the school maybe of being in Latinos in Action? And when I say the school, I mean, how does the school benefit from having a group like LIA?
Maximo: El servicio no es malo para la gente.
Lucy (Translating for Maximo): So I think it helps me, um, see that service is a benefit to, to me. And that service is, is great for other people as well. Serving others is great.
Wendy: So it, so it benefits your whole school community as well as yourself. That’s great. So Alexia, what would you say?
Alexia: It helps like all the students find How to embrace their culture like not just the LIA students, but the LIA students- whatever they learn about their culture they go and share it with their friends and their friends share with more friends So it just really benefits the environment of school.
Wendy: Do you feel like it helps to create a greater appreciation for the diversity even if someone’s not Latino or Latina it doesn’t matter What your differences are you need to embrace that background? Do you feel like it does that? That’s the feeling that I feel when I walk into the building. You can just feel it here. Uh, we’ll start with Maximo. Tell us about some of the activities that you do in LIA or if you wanna share some of the service opportunities that you participate in.
Lucy (Translating for Maximo): One of my favorite things is that we go and read to the children. He means we go to Franklin every Thursday and we’re reading for the first graders, and he says he loves teaching, so it’s a really great experience for him.
Wendy: Maximo, do you wanna be a teacher maybe?
Lucy (Translating for Maximo): It would be like his backup. Not, he doesn’t really wanna be a teacher, but it’s an option.
Wendy: Definitely an option. You definitely know that it’s something you could be doing. So that’s great. What about you Alexia? What are some of the service opportunities that you’ve had that you really enjoy?
Alexia: Well, one of the service opportunities is coming up. We were talking about it last week. We want to go to a retirement home and we want to have a Thanksgiving dinner type thing with them and share what we’re thankful for because a lot of them don’t have families and it would just… seeing their joy would make us happier.
Wendy: And since you guys are basically a family, then you’re kind of sharing your family with them, right? I think that sounds like an incredible idea because people, sometimes in those living conditions are often forgotten, right? And so this would be a great opportunity for you. How would you say that being involved in LIA has really impacted your life or how is it going to influence some of the choices you think you’re going to make when you head to high school?
Lucy (Translating for Maximo): So this class completely has changed my life, and it will continue to impact my life. In the future, I hope to be part of the class in high school. If I don’t have the chance to be part of it, then I hope to continue doing service for the community on my own.
Wendy: So excellent. So your plan is to be in the class, but if that doesn’t happen, you’re still going to utilize all of the skills and things that you’ve learned here at Dixon. You want to keep incorporating those. That’s incredible. What about you, Alexia?
Alexia: I think it’s the same. Like, it has really helped me see how special and beautiful our culture is. And I wanna do more of this in high school, for sure.
Wendy: I love that you described your culture as beautiful. That just, that warmed my heart right there. I see too often sometimes kids really trying to distance themselves sometimes from their culture because they don’t want to be different, and I feel like when we have an LIA program in a school, it really creates this atmosphere where kids recognize how important that culture, how important their families are and the sacrifices that your families have made, right. I think it’s incredible. So we’re talking a little bit about that. It’s national Hispanic Heritage Month. Tell us a little bit more about what that means to you personally.
Lucy: So, um, before we started recording, I shared that I had two last names. Um, I remember when I first came, I was raised in Mexico. I was born and raised in Mexico. So I came to college and then I just, uh, stayed in and worked here. But when I first was getting adapted to the culture, everybody dropped my Sanchez. So I thought that was the right thing to do and I would tolerate my name being butchered because I’m like, well, they don’t know, right? So, so then at one point my driver’s license only had Ordaz and it’s when I did my Master’s that I did a self study and I really realized how important it was not to forget about my mom, my mother, because her influence in my life was that, that I couldn’t just drop Sanchez. So then I even asked BYU, can you reprint my diploma? Because it’s actually Ordaz Sanchez. And I asked the district to add Sanchez. And so everybody noticed the difference. They’re like, did you get married? I’m like no, it’s just my two last names, right? And everybody that gets confused or ends up calling me Sanchez, I explain, no, it’s Ordaz Sanchez. You can just call me Ordaz, but it’s there because I want to honor my mother and also my culture because that’s how it works. I don’t hyphenate it because it’s, it’s not, it’s two last names. So I think as time goes by, I’m honored and humbled at the same time to carry my culture with me, my traditions, my, my struggles. I share with them, my struggles of growing up the way that I grew up, right, it’s, it’s below poverty and here I am, you know, a professional with a master’s degree trying to encourage kids in similar situations that we can do it and it’s because of our culture, not leaving it behind. We don’t have to leave it behind.
Wendy: It kind of boggles my mind that people don’t understand that part of your culture, that of having the two names. We need to understand this. This is so important. This is a part of people’s identity and you can’t erase either side of that, right. That’s very, very important. I’m so glad you shared that. Thank you so much. What about, um, for you, Maximo?
Lucy (Translating for Maximo): It’s really important to me because my culture is what shaped me, and it also shaped my parents. So my parents also shaped me and, um, all the family members before them. Our families have sacrificed so much for us to have a better future.
Wendy: What do you, what do you feel like, Alexia, as a, as a response to that question too?
Alexia: Well, we recently had an assignment where we had to learn about how we are where we are. Like, we had to write about our family and where our family’s originally from. And our grandparents and I had never like talked to my parents about that until that assignment and I was thinking about it and I was working on it and then one of the things we had to write down was how did your parents get to where they were because we were originally from Arizona. Well, I am. My mom was born in Mexico and my dad in Arizona, and I had to call my grandma because I didn’t know how much they sacrificed for us until that assignment. Like, I never really thought about it, and now that I recognized it and had to write something about it, it made me so grateful for them because without them… well, they left for a better life, not only for their kids, but for us, and my siblings, and my cousins, and I had never recognized that.
Wendy: You recognizing that sacrifice that they’ve made, does that make you want to really try hard like in school and be like, I’ve got to take advantage of this opportunity.
Wendy: I’m sure that changes it, right? It changes your perspective a little bit. I’m so glad you shared that story. That was incredible. So just demonstrates how important those assignments are where we’re really reflecting on where we came from
Wendy: and why we are the way that we are, right? What is one thing you wish people knew about your culture, your heritage, the challenges that you’ve had that you feel like people are just kind of oblivious to?
Lucy: Cinco de Mayo is not our independence.
Wendy: Perfect. Thank you. So tell us what Cinco de Mayo is so that we can correct all of the misconceptions. Well, maybe a few of the misconceptions.
Lucy: It’s actually a battalion, uh, in a state. Um, so it, it was important, but it’s, it’s, it’s really interesting to me how over the board we go on that date. And, um. It’s not a big deal for us.
Wendy: Is there another holiday that you wish that we would pay more attention to that has more meaning in your culture?
Lucy: Our independence is in September. A lot of our countries, Latin American countries, celebrate the independence in September. So if anything, we should have taco parties in September more than in May. And not every Mexican likes spicy food.
Wendy: Oh yeah, that’s a stereotype. That’s not okay.
Lucy: It’s, I don’t. And so I always get, aren’t you from Mexico? Um, yeah, but I didn’t grow up eating spicy. My mom didn’t like it. My dad did so she made salsa for him. We had different, so
Wendy: It’s just as varied as it is here.
Wendy: It is in other countries, right,
Lucy: Right. Yep.
Wendy: Love that. Maximo, do you have something you want to share that you wish everybody knew?
Lucy (Translating for Maximo): He’s from Chile, so he’s saying Santiago is not the only thing that makes Chile great
Wendy: Oh good. So what, what is something that you wish people knew that makes Chile great?
Lucy: Okay. Um, so he would like, um, everybody to know that there’s a lot of good people. It’s not just bad people from Chile. There’s a lot of goodness that comes from them. Unfortunately, people focus on the bad things about Chileans and the negatives and there’s, they don’t focus on the good that we have to offer.
Wendy: I just want to thank you so much for being part of our podcast. I’m so excited to talk with you. So I appreciate your time. You guys are great.
Thank you everyone for joining me for this episode of What’s up with the Sup. As always, all episodes will be posted anywhere that you get your podcasts. If you have any topics or questions you would like us to discuss, please email us at email@example.com.
Next week I will be visiting with Clay Bingham, our CTE, Career and Technical Education Director, for the district. We want to highlight the many opportunities provided to our students through CTE courses, and we want to share how students can become more involved in these types of classes and programs. See you next time!