Students Run For The Border...
by Jeff Bell
Traveling for two weeks throughout the city of Guadalajara, Jalisco in Mexico visiting museums, beautiful historical governmental buildings, and cathedrals, and also attending free concerts, is an assignment for two students in Spanish 397 at the Jackson County Center of WVU Parkersburg (JCC).
Jennifer Valdez and Timothy Duley will create a work covering the history and culture of Mexico, while studying at IMAC, Spanish language systems.
IMAC is an international Spanish language school with many other locations worldwide, such as Costa Rica, Chile, Argentina, Spain and Ecuador. A simple game is given the credit for this educational experience.
Anthony Betonte, class instructor, while on a trip to Guadalajara with the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (AATSP), won second place competing in a traditional Mexican game. The game of Balero requires one to catch a small ball attached to a string in a cup, usually a timed competition. The second place award is a four-week IMAC training session for the instructor; however, Betonte traded this for two- two-week sessions for some of his best students to experience Guadalajara and the true Mexican culture.
Guadalajara is the capital of Mexico. The city has several nicknames, three of which are The City of Roses, the City of Murals and The Pearl of The West. Guadalajara was founded in 1542 by Spanish explorers seeking gold, and has become the second largest city in Mexico. “I’m excited to see everything Guadalajara has,” Valdez said. The city is full of historical murals, beautiful cathedrals and interesting people.
Tapatio is the name of the people of Guadalajara; most are friendly and very helpful, according to Betonte. The students will gain firsthand knowledge of the Tapatio people as they will need to traverse the city using the various forms of mass transit available, speaking only the Spanish language. According to Betonte, the mass transit is extensive, but not complete. The students will need to walk to some of their destinations.
The Guadalajara climate is very temperate, maintaining an average temperature of 75 degrees annually. “It does usually rain for a brief period every afternoon or evening,” Betonte said. “They (the students) will need to be prepared for that and pack accordingly.”
Valdez and Duley will be staying in homes of local Tapatio people, again where only Spanish is spoken. The homes will be somewhat close to the campus of IMAC., this will reduce overall costs of lodging and transit to and from the campus.
According to Betonte, a majority of the cost is being funded by the WVU Parkersburg foundation under the direction of Executive Director Kimberly Jones and has been approved by Dr. Rhonda Richardson, senior vice president of academic affairs, and Denise McClung, division chair for social sciences and languages. Valdez and Duley will only need to raise approximately $300 for incidentals (food and souvenirs).
The students have several fund-raising ideas. “We plan on possibly holding a bake/hotdog sale or car wash, but we will need to obtain permission of the campus (JCC) to do so,” Duley said. This trip is very educational and the students could use any help available. For information on fund-raising activities for this trip, contact Anthony Betonte at on main campus.