ORLEANS – Piñatas, the colorful papier-mâché containers, often used in Mexican celebrations, will soon adorn Habanero’s Mexican Grill in Newport City. Fourteen Lake Region Union High School students made the piñatas over the past couple of weeks. The piñatas come just in time for Cinco de Mayo, a day during which Americans and Mexicans celebrate Mexican heritage and pride, and to commemorate the Mexican victory over the French military during the Battle of Puebla.
“Our Spanish class really wanted to do something hands on,” explained Lake Region Spanish teacher Katie Kaskey.
Foreign language students at the school do more than study a language. They also learn about the cultural from which the language originates.
Spanish III and IV students made the piñatas as a class assignment. Other students who got into the act made the piñatas on their own time after school.
“We worked together with the owners of Habanero’s to find a way to really showcase these and have something they can be proud of and extend what we’re learning in the classroom,” said Kaskey.
The piñatas came in all shapes, sizes and color schemes. Kaskey said the students had the opportunity to be as creative as they wanted to be. Some were more traditional than others.
Traditionally, children break the candy-filled piñatas at celebrations. In this case, it will be up to the students if they want their work smashed into pieces.
Scott Shipley, owner of Habanero's, is very pleased to have the piñatas. He will display them throughout May. For those willing to give them up, Shipley is willing to display them indefinitely. They came at a time when Shipley wanted to buy some piñatas.
“All of these are just beautiful,” Shipley said as he looked at the collection that hung from the Lake Region Library ceiling yesterday. “I wanted something like that in my restaurant.”
In turn for the piñatas, Shipley gave each participating student gift certificates for his restaurant.
Lisa Loffler, a junior, found the assignment exciting. “It’s kind of fun to build stuff in class,” said Loffler, who looks forward to breaking her hard work. “Hopefully we can fill it with candy and use it as a piñata.”
Junior Skyla Wilson is also willing to break up her piñata even thought it took her a lot of work to make it.
Shelby Carpentier, a freshman, is one of the students who took part in the project on her own time. The project, she said, taught her how to be creative and about the Spanish culture. Carpentier said she would probably smash her piñata. “I want candy out of it,” she said.