February 14, 1990
Enhances Cultural Relationship between our Cities
By Yolanda Reynolds
“City Ambassadors” sponsored by Pacific Neighbors will be traveling from San Jose to Sister city, Veracruz, Mexico next week.
Elena Robles, Pacific Neighbor Board member is the coordinator of the Veracruz Delegation from San Jose to Veracruz, México, February 20-25. The group includes 100 high school students, members of the award winning Independence High School marching band, band leader, Vernon Miata; eleven parent chaperones; Principal of Democracy Hall, Independence High School, Helen Smith; Val de Leon, President of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; President of Sister City San Jose, Mel Hasserock and his wife, Frank Andrade, Co-Publisher of La Oferta and noted photographer/journalist, Mary Andrade also from La Oferta Review.
Aside from the good will trip, the students will be taking part of the pre-Lenten Carnival celebration. The students will be marching daily and performing in a number of ceremonies and evening balls.
Elena Robles, herself a professional dancer and 1988 recipient of a National Endowment Award and currently teaching at Center for Employment Training (CET) became the heir to a dream envisioned several years ago by Vivian Orduño. Orduño’s dream was that students from San Jose would make a sister city trip to Veracruz, Mexico. Vivian Orduño died of heart failure January 2 of this year but, her dream is now being realized.
Robles says that the students have worked hard to raise the funds necessary to pay their travel to and from Mexico. They held a bowl-a-thon, had raffles and conducted other fund raising activities. The group will be flying to Veracruz via Mexicana Airlines.
The host city is providing the accomodations for the students at the naval base in Veracruz. The host city will also provide the students with the necessary transportation in and around Veracruz and to the various Carnival ceremonies, as well as to a number of sites of historical and cultural interest.
Several sight seeing excursions are planned, as well as a visit to an orphanage and a hospital in Veracruz. The San Jose group will be laden with gifts of clothing for the children at the orphanage and medical supplies for the hospital.
Veracruz is the oldest colonial city in Mexico. It was found it in 1519 by Hernán Cortés. Veracruz, located on the Gulf of Mexico, is the principal port of entry on the east coast of Mexico. Veracruz is described as a city that has preserved its old architectural heritage, albeit interspersed with modern buildings and a metropolis alive with the excitement of a port city.
The youthful ambassadors are expected to keep up with their homework, part of which is to keep a journal account of their experience in Mexico.
Elena says that the trip fell into place so smoothly through the help of so many, in particular, Hilda Schultz of Friendship International Travel, because her close attention to the fine details of the journey.
Pacific Neighbors is an organization comprised of approximately 350 members. It is a non-profit organization dedicated to a peaceful exchange among and between other nations and the U.S. The San Jose chapter has focused its attention to San Jose’s sister cities – Veracruz, Mexico; San Jose, Costa Rica; Tianan, China; Okayama, Japon, and Dublin, Ireland.
This year, Pacific Neighbors again sponsored a student exchange between San Jose, Costa Rica and San Jose, California. Four Costa Rican students and their teacher are ending a four week study trip to San Jose which included their attendance of classes at Leland High School and living with host families near the school.