The primary goal of Del Corazón: Mariachi & Folklorico Heritage in Tucson is to improve written and verbal skills among Hispanic students. A secondary goal is to increase cultural knowledge and pride, thereby empowering students to lead their peers in formal and informal exchanges about Hispanic culture. The final goal is to sustain this program by developing an online resource to be used by other school and community groups to train adults in literacy and oral history projects. Through the participation of Starbucks employees and community volunteers, we will have a core group of capable, caring people who will continue this good work around Tucson.
In searching for an appropriate extracurricular group around which to develop the program, we chose the mariachi band and folklorico dance group. Studies have shown that school students who participate in outside activities perform better than students who do not. Extracurricular activities such as student mariachi bands and folklorico dance groups are constantly at risk, even more so in times of economic hardship.
Members of the Amphitheater High School mariachi band and folklorico dance group will participate by conducting oral history interviews with both local mariachi and folklorico performers as well as with family members. The students will be trained and guided by their adult mentors who in turn will have been trained by Alex Kimmelman, a local historian specializing in conducting oral history projects. With the support of their adult mentors and Amphitheater High School teachers, the students will transcribe their oral interviews and write essays focusing on what they learned from the experience. UofA instructional technologists will create the website and encode the interviews and essays for the Web. Students will perform mariachi and folklorico dance at Tucson area Starbucks stores, introduce and explain the music to audiences, and answer questions posed to them by the media.
The oral histories and essays will be included in a permanent website specifically created for this project. Written essays and photographs capturing the students' experiences will be professionally mounted on exhibits and featured for one week at each of the participating Starbucks stores. To reinforce the students' writing experiences, booklets containing their essays and transcripts of the interviews will be printed to commemorate the experience. These booklets will bring unique resources to the public and acknowledge the generous support of project volunteers and funding agencies.