As part of their Spanish class on Friday, March 22, the sixth graders went to visit Lucio Perez, a Guatemalan-American man and long-time Springfield resident who has spent over a year and a half living in sanctuary at the First Church in Amherst. They went to practice their Spanish, hear Lucio’s story, and to learn to make kites inspired by those made in Guatemala for Día de los Muertos and Día de Todos los Santos, or The Day of the Dead and All Saints’ Day celebrations on November first and second. The students were deeply moved by Lucio’s heartfelt story about his experience being labeled an “illegal citizen” and having to live in exile, separated from his family and his former life. They were also very impressed with his extensive knowledge of kite-making and the triumphant stories he shared about making high-flying kites as a young boy with only plastic bags, a ballpoint pen and no glue. With Lucio’s help, the students built the frames and basic forms of their kites, and will be returning soon in the coming weeks to decorate and fly them with Lucio. In Guatemala, the kites symbolize hope, and carry love and blessings up to the sky for loved ones who have passed on. Our wish is that our kites also may be symbols of hope: for Lucio, for freedom, for friendship and for community! Lea Chiara, Spanish There is no slider selected or the slider was deleted.