21st Century Community Learning Centers participate in TSC’s Living History Day

The Brownsville community is invited to enjoy a morning of history through song, dance, costumes and more during Living History Day taking place Oct. 8 on the grounds of the Texas Southmost College Performing Arts Center.

The cornerstone event is coming back in-person for the first time since 2019 and the excitement is widespread. Attendance is free and the event will take place from 9 a.m. – noon.

Students in the ACE/21st century program are preparing for the event during the afterschool and before school programming. Each of the 10 centers are competing for the best period-specific projects.

Lisa Gonzales is the site coordinator at Porter Early College High School.

“Living History Day is special for my 21st Century students, since it makes Texas History come to life through live performances, art projects, display boards and presentations from several decades. It is a great learning experience.”

Rosa Villarreal-Adame is the site coordinator at Dr. Juliet V Garcia Middle School.

She applauded the ability for her students to interact with college-level faculty.

“The students have a chance to participate in a unique college experience, meet faculty members and community members and learn how to begin socializing professionally while also having fun in an educational environment.” She said.

Villarreal-Adame’s students are using watercolors to make a collage of paintings to depict the Brownsville era back in 1940.

James Pace Early College High School is coordinated by Celia Portillo who says her students will be excited to see period-correct clothing.

“They will see first-hand activities of ancient history, customs in the era and history becomes alive for them,” Portillo said. “Watching skit performances and interacting in this event provides the students with an insight of history that textbooks don’t always provide. Thus, history becomes a living topic that they watch and can get excited about.”

TSC History Instructor, Dirk Yarker, who is one of the principal organizers of Living History Day said the students get excited to try to create the best presentation.

“It’s cool because with the competition that they have they’re competing with the local region. It’s up to them how they want to present and what topic they want to present,” Yarker said. “If they want to do music, the Alamo, a dance they can. So, they have complete freedom on what they do and how they do it. They get really excited about coming to the campus and showing what they can do.”

Dr. Prisci Tipton is the Director of Special Instructional Projects and oversees the 21st Century Programs. She says the participation of 21st Century students is perfectly in line with the mission of the grant.

“The main goal of Living History Day aligns with the goals and objectives of TSC’s 21st Century Program aimed to increase academic achievement, decrease disciplinary referrals, increase attendance, and increase graduation rates; with the ultimate goal to graduate students college and career ready,” Dr. Tipton said. “We are very pleased that our students have access to enriching activities, safe places, and caring teachers through the Texas Southmost College 21st Century Community Learning Centers Program. Enrichment activities develop and define student’s interests and skills. Furthermore, by participating in these community events otherwise not readily available to them, at-risk students have access to new and enriching experiences that may provide lasting developmental benefits.

Living History Day is free to the public. TSC is excited to welcome the community to the Historic Fort Brown Campus.