Mexican Sister City Celebrates Cinco De Mayo In Tyler
Tyler's Dogan Middle School rolled out the red carpet Friday, unveiling an energized Cinco de Mayo production to help the Rose Capital welcome a special delegation from San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.
The dignitaries are guests of Tyler Sister Cities, which partnered with the Mexican city about two years ago. The 10-member group is being treated to a whirlwind weekend tour of the city that includes planned stops at Gallery Main Street, Tyler Junior College and Tyler City Hall.
|TYLER'S SISTER CITIES PROGRAM|
|Tyler Sister Cities was founded in 1982 by Tyler Mayor Norman Shtofman, who served as its first president.|
The organization is part of Sister Cities International, a nonprofit citizen diplomacy network created by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956 that creates and strengthens partnerships between U.S. and international communities. The organization strives to build global cooperation at the municipal level, promote cultural understanding and stimulate economic development.
TYLER'S SISTER CITIES
San Miguel de Allende, Mexico
Jelenia Gora, Poland
Lo Barnechea, Chile
More Information: Visit www.tylersistercities.org.
On Friday, the occasion was about celebrating Hispanic heritage and the ties that bind Mexico to the United States.
Special guest speaker Luz Maria Nunez Flores, San Miguel's mayor, garnered screaming applause and cheers when she told the children to be true to themselves and look for ways to make a positive impact.
"I am very, very happy to be here," she said, in English and in Spanish. "This is a very important moment to be here, in our Sister City, to celebrate Cinco de Mayo."
Ms. Flores, noted as San Miguel's first female mayor, said the U.S. and Mexico have important ties, as both countries have to overcome adversity over the years.
The annual observation of Cinco de Mayo recalls Mexico's efforts in 1862 to defend itself against French invaders. Mexico held its ground to win and then lose the battle against its larger, stronger competitor, but the spirit in which it fought back is still viewed with pride.
"Why did we win? Because we believe in ourselves," Ms. Flores told the children. "Now, as Sister Cities, we are here, in 2012, to celebrate Cinco de Mayo."
As the youngsters cheered, the mayor added, "We are here and proud of being Mexican. We are proud of being a Sister City with your city. ... Let's stay together. Be proud of what you are; be proud of your roots."
Friday's festivities included entertainment from the Dogan Dance Team, eighth-grade dancers and Full Out Athletics Cheer and Tumbling.
Dogan students who helped the San Miguel delegates feel at home seemed pleased to be the face of local students.
"We are so happy we could all come together and celebrate," middle school student Alicia Luna said. "Welcome, welcome, welcome -- Viva Mexico."
Students Jennifer Soto, Aurora Gonzales, Marbella Noyola and Nancy Duran also assisted in the welcome ceremony.
San Miguel's mayor, accepting a colorful bouquet of flowers and a small gift on behalf of the school, said afterward she and the other delegation members were delighted with the production and the warm Texas welcome.
"I feel very, very proud and pleased, especially because of the energy from the children," she said. "They identify with the topic of Cinco de Mayo."
Tyler Sister Cities President Price Arredondo predicts the next few days will be busy, but productive.
"This was a great opportunity to participate with the students as they celebrated Cinco de Mayo," he said. "They (delegates) were very excited when we told them this was their first stop."
Arredondo heads up the Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce's Hispanic Business Alliance.
Tyler ISD Trustee Eleno Licea, who serves on the Hispanic Business Alliance Advisory Committee, said he was delighted with the production and the big way Dogan students stepped up to welcome their guests.
"We're really proud of them," the trustee said. "We're looking forward to a great visit."
Also Friday, the group visited the Goodman LeGrand House and Museum, The University of Texas at Tyler, Gallery Main Street and Cassie Edmonds' art studio before dining on the rooftop at Jake's.
Today, the delegation plans to head to the East Texas Fairgrounds in Tyler to enjoy Cinco de Mayo festivities before an evening at Villa Montez.
On Sunday, the group plans to attend morning mass, followed by brunch at Hollytree Country Club and an evening visit to TJC's Earth and Science Planetarium for a program and reception.
The group returns home Monday after a noon meal at city hall.
Principal Masud Shamsid-Deen said students and teachers worked with The University of Texas at Tyler ACE site coordinator Tambelynn Wallace to produce the welcome Cinco de Mayo assembly, which included student art work, colorful costumes and dance moves.
The principal said the delegates and local business professionals who spoke Friday were great role models for the younger generation.
"For our young ladies, I hope they will look at a Hispanic woman in a position of leadership and aspire to become leaders in their communities and families," he said. "The greater value today was seeing people of different cultures, races and backgrounds come together and celebrate. ... It was a great history lesson."