By Mary O’KEEFE
Everyone was in the fiesta spirit at Mountain Avenue Elementary’s flag ceremony on April 16. The courtyard burst with color when Marylou Matheu’s first graders began their performance of the Jarabe Tapatio or Mexican hat dance.
Before the dance the first graders went to the microphone and announced their ancestry. From Ireland to Argentina, from Russia to Japan the students told the audience of how the United States was comprised of immigrants and, although their ancestors were from other countries, America was their country.
Then the dance began. The girls wore brilliant pink skirts and the boys were dressed in black pants and neatly tucked in white shirts. The boys threw their hats onto the ground and the girls swirled around as boys, hands clasped behind their backs, cautiously danced around the Mexican sombreos.
First graders Maya Jane Whitaker and Abby White liked the dresses and had worked hard to learn the dance.
“The skirts are really pretty,” said Maya Jane.
“The hats were pretty tight though,” said Anton Verheyen.
For the dance the boys had to hold the girls’ hand and at one point kick their foot over their partner’s head. Dancing with girls did not bother Anton and classmates Chris Nava and Adam Griffin.
“It was fun, we got to chase the girls,” Chris said.
Chris and Anton said girls chase them during recess so putting it to music wasn’t much different. Adam said he chases his sister so he wasn’t bothered by that part of the dance either.
The colorful dance was a way to bring attention to the M.A.C.K. (Mountain Avenue Committed to Kids) Foundation’s Night Out. The Night Out is the Foundation’s annual fundraiser and this year has a fiesta theme.
The Foundation pays for many programs and items that are no longer supplied by the district. It continues to update the computer lab and other technology for the school as well as offer grants to teachers. Those funds can be requested for anything from classroom supplies to paying for field trips. With the ever shrinking financial support for education from the state, Foundations are stepping up to supply more funding.
For the Night Out event there will be a silent auction for baskets created by classrooms. Some of the items for auction include a Nurf Basket, Disneyland tickets, a trip to the Northridge Baseball Camp, Dodger tickets and vacation packages.
M.A.C.K. Night Out will be held at the Dilbeck Home on May 1 from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tickets are $50
per person and will be available at the door. The ticket includes entrance to the event, food that is being catered by Damon’s Steak House and a chance to bid on the auction items. For information contact Mountain Avenue Elementary at (818) 248-7766.