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San Benito
July 13, 2024

Education office, El Teatro team up to teach vulnerable students

The San Benito County Office of Education (SBCOE) in partnership with El Teatro Campesino (ETC) is providing an incredible summer school experience for approximately 40 of our most vulnerable students countywide. These students have been identified as qualifying for services under the Education of Homeless Children and Youth (EHCY) Grant and the Foster Services Coordinating/Migrant Education Programs.

The program, entitled Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) Summer Academy—Nahui Ollin, is housed at the San Andreas Continuation High School in Hollister and focuses on a visual and performing arts curriculum. With support from the San Benito County Office of Education, ETC will provide content and trained Teaching Artists for the Academy. Students from our districts across the county are in attendance that span from 4th through 12th grade.

The students are divided into three classes and engage in art activities designed for their specific grade levels while immersed in different aspects of visual and performing art. Simultaneously, all the classes experience a type of “Teatro Intensive” designed to build confidence, team work, creativity, resourcefulness, collaboration and a “do it yourself” approach to life affirming art experiences. Students are learning about a wide variety of art forms and lessons cover everything from puppet making to producing digital stories with plenty of singing, dancing, painting and sculpting. The program will culminate with a visit and performance from professional ETC actors and puppeteers for a day of program closing activities and celebration.

Founded by Luis Valdez in 1965 as the cultural arm of the UFW movement, El Teatro Campesino functions as a multi-generational theatre company. For fifty-three years now, ETC has been at the forefront of using theatre as an artistic generator of social change and continues to empower artists and communities from its home in San Juan Bautista.

Mrs. Krystal Lomanto, San Benito County Superintendent of Schools, said “The San Benito County Office of Education is excited about offering this fantastic program for our students across the county. Studies have found students taking part in summer learning programs will substantially increase their academic and social skills. The SBCOE is proud to partner and collaborate with our districts and community agencies to bring the academy to fruition.”

Ms. Christy Sandoval, ETC General Manger and Education Director, stated, “ETC finds it imperative to continue bringing art-based lessons to students that undoubtedly reflect their reality. By the end of this project, students will have a tremendous tool and be able to create art by any means necessary.”

The half day program concludes on Friday, June 29th with a closing ceremony. Parents and guests will have an opportunity to view student projects and see a live performance from the El Teatro Campesino troupe.

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