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Spanish festival spreads cheer at Hurley School

 

Cortney Ofstad/Daily Globe

MATHEMATICS TEACHER Greg Massoglia, far right, sings with the band "Juan Direction" during La Festival de Navidad at the Hurley K-12 School Friday. Band members are, from left, junior Jordan Kokely, senior Ruger Manzer, junior Dakota Rice, senior Chris Edyvean and junior Danielle Irons (hidden).

HURLEY - Nothing says Christmas like burritos, deep-fried ice cream and virgin strawberry daiquiris.

High school Spanish students held the annual La Festival de Navidad at the Hurley K-12 School Friday, mixing Spanish customs with the holiday season.

The event took place in the elementary gym, featuring a variety of culinary options from different Spanish-speaking countries and other activities.

According to Spanish teacher Natalie Patritto, it is the 11th year the school has hosted the event. The festival is organized and run by the students, and Patritto said she had around 60 working the event this year.

"They pull it all together and do a really good job," Patritto said.

Attractions at the festival included a live mariachi band called "Juan Direction," games, palm readings, hair braiding, items for sale, lots of food and a visit from Santa Claus.

Non-Spanish students were able to attend the event, including elementary and middle school students.

"This is a perfect setting, with it being a K-12 building," Patritto said. "That is what makes it work."

To help younger students learn more about Spanish cultures, Patritto's students visit classrooms and speak about what they have learned.

The festival is such a success, it has sparked interest from other school districts.

"We have students coming from Drummond today," Patritto said. "Their Spanish teacher is interested in starting a festival there, and would like to see how it works."

After more than 10 years, the event is still a success.

"The students do an awesome job," Patritto said. "They really look forward to this each year."