Lufkin High School ESL Newcomer Class visits the Museum of East Texas Festival of Trees

 Christmas is a time for sharing cultural and family traditions. At Lufkin High School, the students in the English as a Second Language (ESL) Newcomer class did just that while touring the Festival of Trees at the Museum of East Texas.

“Students have great conversations, apply their learning, and use information from this trip to complete language assignments in class until the holiday break,” Erin Kay, Director of Science & Social Studies/District Campus Support Coordinator.

Students who are part of the Newcomer class are learning English and are often from far away countries. As the students walked through the display rooms at the museum several took photos with the trees and talked about what traditions they enjoy at Christmastime.

Carla Turcios is from Honduras and has lived in Lufkin one year now. She said her Christmas traditions include tamales, chicken and rice and french bread. She and her brother help her mother decorate the Christmas tree each year.

“We go to my cousins’ house and watch fireworks at night on the 24th and eat together,” said Turcios.

Sebastian Avila from Mexico told about his Christmas traditions of gift exchanges and celebrating Three Kings Day on Jan. 6. He said they eat a cake with a plastic baby inside to mark the arrival of the three wise men who visited baby Jesus. Whoever gets the baby cooks tamales for everyone on Feb. 2 for Día de la Candelaria. Sebastian said he’s gotten the baby before in one of his slices of cake.

Kay said the students will be tested on listening, speaking, reading and writing in English.

“When the students come here and see the trees they will go back to the classroom and write and discuss with each other about community and traditions,” said Kay.

Teachers and staff who accompanied the students and work with them in the program are Rebecca Solis, Lorelei Cummings, Dani McQueen and Patricia Camarillo.


From left: Rebecca Solis, Lorelei Cummings, Dani McQueen and Patricia Camarillo.