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400 students celebrate Christmas with a new cultural flair

Written by: Drew Amstutz, CLHS student writer

Dec 7, 2016 

FORT WAYNE, Ind. — Concordia Lutheran High School students in the Spanish department prepare for an inaugural celebration of Las Posadas. Four hundred students in grades 9-12 have been working for over a month to plan the event scheduled for Dec 7. Students will gather Wednesday from 7-8 p.m. in the Cadet Cafe at the high school.

Las Posadas is a Latin American celebration and reenactment of the pilgrimage of Mary and Joseph and their search for “posada,” or shelter. Originating in Mexico, communities across North America gather together for nine consecutive evenings to walk door-to-door singing and asking neighbors for “posada.” On the last night, communities enjoy tamales, buñuelos, hot chocolate and other Mexican delicacies.

Lizette Pierce, a Spanish teacher at CLHS who had the idea of a student-lead Posadas celebration, hopes that students will share the joy she felt during her childhood Posadas.

“I grew up watching my aunt make piñatas, tamales and buñuelos. I wanted our students to experience that,” she said.

Students have contributed to the cause in a variety of ways. Committees include decoration, culinary, music and marketing. All together, Spanish students have volunteered an estimated 2,000 hours in order to plan for the fiesta.

“I love to see students collaborating with adults. They are getting the experience of planning, organizing, and working with others — doing real life stuff,” Pierce said.

Pierce, along with her colleagues Paula Booth, Darcy Lugo and Karla Avila, faced the challenge of finding a way to encourage their students to get involved with the preparation of the event. Their solution was to require students to participate in five workshops, each lasting roughly an hour, to help prepare for the celebration. At the workshops, students were exposed to the Latino world around them through cultural food, song and crafts.

Booth describes what she hopes to be the impact of the Posadas celebration.

“I hope that this will be memorable for the students and that they will be able to connect with the Hispanic culture and be able to relate our celebration of Los Posadas to their own Christmas story,” she said.

This past Sunday, roughly 200 smiling students gathered to make more than 300 tamales and buñuelos, all to be eaten at the fiesta.

“It has been very neat to see students enjoying themselves as they prepare for the Posada. I hope that down the road students will continue to feel comfortable with embracing new cultures and traditions,” Pierce said.

Pierce hopes to make this celebration not only a yearly tradition for CLHS students, but for the community of Fort Wayne as a whole. 

“I would love to involve all of the businesses of the North Anthony Corridor and invite the community to take part in our celebration,” she said. “Each business has something that they could add, in order to bring this amazing cultural experience to the community.”

Concordia Lutheran High School, located at 1601 St. Joe River Drive in Fort Wayne, Ind., was founded in 1935 as a private, co-educational Lutheran high school open to students of all faiths and backgrounds. With Christ at the center, Concordia continues to pursue educational excellence that equips individuals for lifelong learning and service as disciples of Jesus Christ. Learn more at