By Ricardo Herrera
Somerton families and students enjoyed a full day of fun with their own unique version of Family Night, an annual event demonstrating all the programs offered by Arizona Western College and Somerton Middle School. Most of the people at this event, where children accompanied by their parents and also, some of this children came from different schools in Somerton to participate in some of the activities at this event, most of them, middle school students.
Various local school programs performed their music, like the Kofa High School King Marching Band and the Orange Grove Elementary School Band. The Tierra Del Sol Music Band has especially impressive choreography.
There was also a Zumba and a belly-dance group as well as seven school clubs selling food -- bolis, cotton candy, hot dogs, rolled tacos, hot Cheetos with cheese, popcorn and churros locos.
One popular activity was the Valle del Encanto Robotics team, composed of kindergarten children, whose teacher, Sandra Magana, had taught them how to use the Bee Bot (so named because it's in the shape of a bee). The Bee Bot is programmed by the children and placed on a mat with some numbers on it where the robot follows a series of directions in arriving at the answer to an addition problem.
Lisa Martinez, professor of ESL at AWC's San Luis Learning Center, said that many people asked about enrolling in AWC classes. The most frequently asked question were about getting financial aid and about class times. Martinez said that Family Night was a success this year because more organizations came to give information to the community. For example, Lizbeth Vasquez from Campesinos Sin Fronteras (Farmers Without Borders) gave information about their Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program for middle-schoolers.
AWC's Somerton Center Assistant Susie De Loa, who was in charge of all the activities of the evening, said the community response this time was positive response since the weather was an issue last year. Some 27 organizations set up booths to share information, including the Cocopah Fire Department, the Consulate of Mexico, AWC Transfer Services and the universities of Arizona and Phoenix.
In addition, workshops were offered on education in Arizona and bullying. Juan de Dios Bohon, a teacher at Somerton Middle School, explained that the technology department was available to teach parents how to access grades, homework assignments, the school's three websites, on math, geography and reading.
Parents, children and future AWC students all learned a lot at Somerton Family Night this time around, and no doubt next year will be even better.
Photos by Ricardo Herrera.