Benevolent, helpful, and genuine. After sitting down with Spanish teacher Señor Silvestre, these are three of many words that could be used to describe his positive outlook on life and his charitable work ethic. Throughout his many years of teaching, Señor Silvestre has implemented the importance of helping and serving others into the minds of each of his students.
“[In my class], I try to teach my students about the importance of reaching out and helping people,” Silvestre said. “I believe that we are here to serve and contribute as much as we can.”
Since his first few years teaching at FHC, Silvestre has provided opportunities for his students to reach out and give back to less fortunate parts of our community. Every year, he takes his Spanish classes to a less fortunate elementary school. Each student is matched with a kindergartner and gifts them with a new winter coat. They spend part of the day at the elementary school playing on the playground and interacting with their “buddy”.
“It’s not a secret that FHC is a very affluent school,” Silvestre said. “When I take my students on these trips, I want them to experience, see, and help the schools that are not as fortunate as we are.”
According to Silvestre, one of his favorite parts about this trip is seeing the looks of joy and excitement on all of the “little” kids faces. He has done this for 10 years and each year FHC is asked to come back because of the positive and beneficial experience for all of the students.
Not only does this trip help less fortunate schools and children, but it encourages students to practice their spanish language skills in a real life situation.
“The school we travel to is not a completely Spanish-speaking school,” Silvestre said. “Most of the kids speak English at school and Spanish at home. For our students, it is good practice to speak and understand Spanish phrases in a real life situation.”
Silvestre says that it is interesting how students react in this kind of situation. Most of them understand bits and pieces of what is being said and can ultimately figure it out. It is a different experience from sitting in a classroom to going out and listening to real conversations from native speakers.
“I want to expose my students to as much as I can,” Silvestre said. “It is good for them to experience life different than what they are used to.”
This past summer, Silvestre also gave back to an even bigger community by taking a group of students to the Dominican Republic. They contributed by building 2 playgrounds and a few houses.
“I had always wanted to take my students to my home country and have them experience everything, instead of just staying at a resort,” Silvestre said. “When we had the opportunity to travel there and help out, I could not wait.”
The trip ended up being a success. Silvestre says that he and his group of students bonded and created a lot of different memories. They helped out less fortunate people and made an impact on their daily lives.
“The trip to the Dominican is one that I will never forget,” Silvestre said. “Everyone worked very hard and we got to help out those in need.”
Whether it be traveling to a different country, a different part of the community, or even within the halls of FHC, Señor Silvestre and his students will be making an impact on the daily lives of students by serving and helping.
“Having such great opportunities to actually experience and help people is really great,” Silvestre said. “I am glad I can help my students contribute to a larger society in need and teach them the importance of serving others.”