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Native Dominican Educator Visits Valhalla High School Spanish Students

Native Dominican educator visits Valhalla High School Spanish students.
Native Dominican educator visits Valhalla High School Spanish students. Photo Credit: Valhalla Union Free School District

VALHALLA, N.Y. -- Jose Cenac, a Dominican-born writer, visited Valhalla High School's Spanish classes to discuss culture and history of his native country.

Cenac met with the students on April 29. He currently works as a teacher in the Bronx and is pursuing a second Master's degree in Childhood Education with a Bilingual Extension in Spanish at Lehman College.

To build upon the students' prior knowledge of Dominican history that they learned in class, Cenac recited an autobiographical poem titled "¿De dónde soy?" which translates In English to "Where Am I From?"

The poem reflected on important historical events in the Dominican Republic, including personal experiences as a first-generation immigrant in the United States. Cenac elaborated on and explained several points made during the poem.

He mentioned that despite some differences, his adolescent life in the Dominican Republic and the United States have plenty in common. He also pointed out that Dominican-based Spanish is distinct from the standard Castilian dialect spoken in Spain. During the visit, Cenac also answered questions posed by the students, which allowed the students to practice their speaking skills. At the end of the day, Cenac commented that it was a privilege to visit Valhalla High School.

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