Today, I had to show the students my own example of the type of story that I wanted them to produce. I could tell from the previous meetings that they were becoming anxious as to what I was expecting from them exactly.
I adapted the presentation that I made for my UNAM history class on Mexico-Philippines relations to feature my aunt, the judge! She actually became more of a motivation for me as I searched “deeper” into the Internet for information about her.
After a short introduction of myself as a teacher, I first showed the students that Mexico and the Philippines were tied historically from the 1521 landing of the Spanish “settlers”, Magellan and Cortés (respectively) and how similar the Mexican and Filipino cultures have become from the 250 years of galleon trade between Manila and Acapulco. The students were impressed to find out that products ranging from avocados to powered gold were exchanged.
Then, I told them the story of how my great-grandfather (Senator Quintin Paredes) was sent to Washington D.C. to be the first Resident Commissioner in the U.S. when the Philippines became a commonwealth country under the United States in 1936. After President Truman signed the Independence of the Philippines from the United States in 1946, my great-grandfather had long returned to resume being a Philippine senator.
She worked toward equal rights in the 1960’s especially for women’s rights.
One of Quintin Paredes’ sons, my great-uncle Victorino Paredes, eventually became an ambassador to Mexico in the 1980’s. One of his daughters, my great-aunt Lourdes Paredes, became the first woman justice of the Court of Appeals in the Philippines. She worked toward equal rights in the 1960’s especially for women’s rights. She was the justice that presided over one famous case that labelled her the hanging judge. That fact I did not tell my students.
After telling my “significant story”, the students understood that they needed to find a person in their family and/or community that did something positive. I am looking forward to what they come back with in a couple of days!