Students’ Bilingual Skills on Display

Students’ Bilingual Skills on Display as Tour Guides for Norton Museum Exhibition
Posted on 11/15/2021
Students in a hallway

From October 23, 2021 through February 6, 2022, the Norton Museum of Art will present Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Mexican Modernism from the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection, featuring the display of more than 150 art pieces.

In conjunction with the exhibition, the Museum launched Guia, an eight-week-long bilingual docent training program for students in the International Spanish Academy (ISA) at John I. Leonard High School.

Student participants in the program will learn to facilitate conversations in both Spanish and English with Museum visitors, engaging in discussions about the works of art and the artists represented in the exhibitions, sharpening their visual literacy and public speaking skills in the process. Upon the conclusion of the program, students will have acquired the skills needed to lead tours of the exhibition in Spanish.

“We are excited to be selected to participate in the inaugural year of the Guia program, which shows that our ISA students are in high demand due to their academic ability, and because they are bilingual, biliterate, and demonstrate positive cross-cultural competency,” said Daisy Lord, the Choice Coordinator at John I. Leonard High. “Our school provides our ISA students with a world-class education, and the cultural immersion and experience our students gain in the curriculum we offer is paramount to their success as future citizens of our community.”

Through their participation in the Guia program, students can earn the community service hours needed for graduation. Additionally, they will receive compensation for their roles as tour guides for the duration of the exhibition. Those benefits are an added bonus on top of the value the students get from their participation in a program that is an extension of their existing area of interest and study.

“John I. Leonard High School’s partnership with the Norton Museum is a celebration of our students’ culture and history,” said Melissa Patterson, director of the District’s Multicultural department and the school’s former principal. “The partnership also validates and celebrates language acquisition and bilingualism. I am very grateful to the Norton Museum for providing our students with the stage to further their vision within the essence of who they are as individuals.”

Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera and Mexican Modernism is organized by the Vergel Foundation and Mondo Mostre in collaboration with the Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes y Literatura. It is curated by the Vergel Foundation curator, Magda Carranza de Akle, and for the Norton by Ellen E. Roberts, Harold and Anne Berkley Smith Curator of American Art.

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