GRCMS Spanish Immersion Students get to know the Roosevelt Park Neighborhood
By Vanessa Abreu
This spring, the 6th & 7th-grade Spanish Immersion students had the opportunity to visit the Roosevelt Park Neighborhood. During their time there, students learned more about the neighborhood’s history at the Roosevelt Park Neighborhood Association. They also learned about why a Neighborhood Association is essential and what it does to support the community.
Established in 1978, the Roosevelt Park Neighborhood Association has worked to make the neighborhood a safe, attractive place for its residents. Located to the west of US 131 and east of Clyde Park Ave, the Roosevelt Park Neighborhood spans the corridor south of Wealthy Street and ends to the north of Alger Street. The neighborhood is home to just over 5,000 people, comprised of 73% of individuals who identify as Hispanic and 14% African American (source).
The students used their Spanish language skills while ordering drinks and picking up lunch from Rincon Criollo, a Dominican Restaurant that everyone should eat at this summer!
A highlight of the field trip was going to Rodriguez Supermarket, where the students participated in a scavenger hunt. They were tasked with finding several grocery items, write down the price, and figure out the use for each item. Some of the things on the scavenger hunt included tamarindo, cilantro, jarritos, and much more!
Students also heard from Vanessa Cervantes, the Family & Volunteer Coordinator at the Cook Arts Center, which is part of Grandville Avenue Arts and Humanities. They started thinking ahead to volunteer opportunities to continue using their Spanish language skills while giving back to the community. Students toured the Cook Arts Library and got to see one of the classrooms where their after-school programs take place. Vanessa also told students about summer programs that they can sign up for.
M & M Bakery was another stop on the field trip where we got to have cupcakes made by the owner, who is from Puerto Rico.
Señora Carter’s 6th graders told her that the field trip to the Roosevelt Park Neighborhood was a wonderful experience; they loved the food, the neighborhood association museum, and most of all, the supermarket.
I loved the food and learning more about Hispanic culture
I enjoyed eating empanadas and going to the supermarket.
Rincón Criollo was amazing!
I liked the supermarket and the food.
Vanessa Abreu is the Spanish Immersion Coordinator (and newly hired Assistant Principal) at Grand Rapids Christian Elementary Iroquois Campus. She has been working at GRCS for nine years. Before her role as the Spanish Immersion Coordinator, she taught 3rd grade Spanish Immersion at Iroquois for seven years. Vanessa's family is from Havana, Cuba and her husband is from the Dominican Republic. Together they have two children in the GRCS Spanish Immersion Program.