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Quince minutos de fama

Faculty rallies behind Juana Gun to make sure fourth annual Ballet Folklorico quinceañera is realized

After+their+entrance+and+opening+dance%2C+all+of+the+quinceneras+and+their+chambelanes+took+pictures+in+front+of+a+white+Camaro.+The+car+was+rented+by+Gun+just+for+the+occasion%2C+in+place+of+a+limo.+
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Quince minutos de fama

After their entrance and opening dance, all of the quinceneras and their chambelanes took pictures in front of a white Camaro. The car was rented by Gun just for the occasion, in place of a limo.

After their entrance and opening dance, all of the quinceneras and their chambelanes took pictures in front of a white Camaro. The car was rented by Gun just for the occasion, in place of a limo.

Selena De Jesus

After their entrance and opening dance, all of the quinceneras and their chambelanes took pictures in front of a white Camaro. The car was rented by Gun just for the occasion, in place of a limo.

Selena De Jesus

Selena De Jesus

After their entrance and opening dance, all of the quinceneras and their chambelanes took pictures in front of a white Camaro. The car was rented by Gun just for the occasion, in place of a limo.

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To Spanish teacher Juana Gun, all girls deserve the chance to celebrate their 15th birthday. That was the basis on which the annual Ballet Folklorico Quinceañera was started four years ago: to give those that might not have been able to afford one the opportunity to experience the traditional celebration, no matter their age, financial circumstance or background. On Saturday, families and friends gathered at the Faith Lutheran Church to celebrate the fourth annual community quinceañera. Some of the girls that donned dresses were much older than 15. Some were benefiting from a Spanish extra credit incentive. To five out of the 15-something girls, however, their quince años celebration was real.

I lost my mom, but what brought me up this past weekend was walking in and seeing that all my teachers had taken over all the different parts and made sure the quinceañera went on whether I was there or not.”

— Juana Gun

“[The Quinceañera is] maintaining a tradition because for five of those little girls, for them and their families it was real,” said Gun, the head coordinator of the quinceañera. “When I spent time talking to each of the families, they were very very moved by it. It was something they couldn’t do on their own, but the community did it. Their child had to share it with other people, but in the end, it [was them], [they were] the princess for the day.”

The party started when each of the quinceañeras and chambelanes were introduced, parading out onto the dance floor in shiny ballroom dresses and tuxedos. Then, the guests watched as the students performed a group waltz, a traditional part of every quince modernized by Ed Sheran’s “Perfect.” Following the waltz, choreographed by senior Melissa Marquez and junior Mahali Domingo, the quinceañera-goers were treated to live mariachi music by McCallum alum Juan Diaz, food, drinks, and cake. After the mariachi, AVID senior Matt Velasquez’s DJ’ing kept the guests on the dance floor.

A party this size took a lot of work and a lot of money to put on, but was made possible through help from all over the McCallum community. Ballet Folklorico kids and Spanish students worked shifts at the Erwin Center to help raise funds, dresses were donated or rented for the occasion and food was donated by local restaurants and businesses. After three years of coordinating the event, Gun was somewhat of a seasoned veteran in making the party as smooth as possible; however, Gun spent the week before the party with her mother in hospice care. Through the help of teachers from all over McCallum, from the English to the athletic department, the party carried on and was still a smashing success.

When I spent time talking to each of the families, they were very very moved by it. It was something they couldn’t do on their own, but the community did it.”

— Juana Gun

“I had spent a whole week in hospice care with my mom, and in the end I lost my mom, but what brought me up this past weekend was walking in and seeing that all my teachers had taken over all the different parts and made sure the quinceañera went on whether I was there or not,” Gun said. “Imagine Coach Salazar going to a quinceañera store and picking up dresses because he wants to help me. Everybody helped one way or another. Seeing my co-workers make sure the quinceañera went on whether I was there or not, for the kids, that’s beautiful. That got me all teary eyed.”

Although it’s been less than a week since the quinceañera, Gun and the rest of the McCallum community are already looking ahead to next year’s celebration.

“I’ve already got little girls walking by saying ‘I’m gonna do it next year, Miss,’” Gun said. “[The quinceañera] brings out those girls who secretly want to be a princess for the day.”

Selena De Jesus

After their entrance and opening dance, all of the quinceneras and their chambelanes took pictures in front of a white Camaro. The car was rented by Gun just for the occasion, in place of a limo. Photo by Selena De Jesus.

Seniors Melissa Marquez and Alex Lopez dance with the rest of the quinceaneras after being introduced. This was Marquez’s second year taking part in the Quinceanera and her first year organizing the event and choreographing the group dance with the help of Malhali Domingo. “My favorite moment was the dance,” Marquez said. ” Everyone did an amazing job and at the end, it looked perfect. Some of them may have messed up but they kept going and they never seemed to hesitate.” Photo by Bella Russo.

Selena De Jesus

Freshman Tracy Atoo waits for the waltz to begin. Since there was an uneven number of chambelanes to quinceañeras, Atoo and Addie Secar-Martinez, both quinceañeras, were paired together during the waltz. “My favorite part from the quince was when Addie and I kept struggling [during the waltz],” Tracy Atoo said, “because both our dresses were really big and we were dance buddies.” Photo by Selena De Jesus.

Sophomores Olivia Capochiano and Nadine Del Gallo laugh while showing off their dancing skills during the mariachi performance. The students were the were first two people on the dance floor, but others soon followed. “I think most people were too shy [to dance first],” Capochiano said. “I wanted to break the tension.” Photo by Bella Russo.

Selena De Jesus

AVID teacher Zulmy Galindo and Spanish teacher/quinceanera organizer Juana Gun welcome family and friends to the celebration before introducing the quinceaneras and chambelanes. In keeping with baletfoklorico tradition, Galindo joined in on the festivities by donning a quince dress of her own. “Every year I find a teacher who’s willing to wear a quinceanera dress and that makes the kids smile,” Gun said. “Here we are in our 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, or in my case 60’s, wearing a poofy dress and still looking like a princess. ” Photo by Selena De Jesus.

Seniors Elesia Zarzoza and Wesley Bryant enjoy live mariachi music after the group’s waltz. Photo by Bella Russo.

Selena De Jesus

Junior Bryn Lewis and sophomore Sipriana Alba pose in Gun’s convertible after the quinceanera. Photo by Selena De Jesus.

Freshmen Edwin Galindo and Andrea Vazquez spin during the waltz. Photo by Bella Russo.

Selena De Jesus

Julian Soliz dances with his little sister. Photo by Selena De Jesus.

Selena De Jesus

Junior Mahali Dominguez and senior Christopher Scott on the dance floor. Photo by Selena De Jesus.

Quinceañera 2019 (Selena De Jesus)

Photos by Selena De Jesus

Quinceanera 2019

Photos by Bella Russo

 

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1 Comment

One Response to “Quince minutos de fama”

  1. Norma Valle on May 10th, 2019 7:46 am

    What a wonderful experience for all the young girls, and the young men who participated. Thank you for continuing this event, and to the wonderful McCallum community that supports this event.

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