Students at Lake Alfred Elementary School learn about National Hispanic Heritage Month through an “awe-inspiring” classroom door.
Art teacher Chanique Davis started the cultural month by revealing her creative tribute to Selena Quintanilla-Pérez, who has a smiling portrait of the late Tejano singer.
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The Polk County Public Schools District of Florida featured Davis’ work and former door designer in one Facebook post Thursday that “Lake Alfred Elementary art teacher has become famous in our school district (and online) for her awe-inspiring classroom door design celebrating national events like Black History Month and Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.”
Davis, 34, told Fox News she chose to design a door after Selena because she had a significant influence on Mexican American history and the Latin music industry.
“She is such a profound Spanish-speaking icon. I wanted my kids to know about her,” Davis said. “Selena was not just a singer, she was an artist. She was a visual artist. She drew in her sketchbook. She liked to design clothes, and she had many shops where her clothes were sold, but she was also an artist. And so I used her because I was able to create discussion about being multifaceted as an artist. “
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Davis went on to say that her door designer led to deeper conversations with her students.
“It’s not just about the door being really beautiful or looking cool,” Davis said. “It’s about the story I get told about the door. It’s about the culture attached to the door.”
Prior to his tribute to Selena, Davis created a 3D paper-based classroom door design in honor of Celia Cruz in 2019 Hispanic Heritage Month — which shaped the salsa and merengue music scene with more than 80 albums and songs.
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Davis told Fox News that she has been decorating classroom doors after remarkably or culturally diverse characters since 2018. Each design takes her about six or eight hours to put together.
“I just know the importance of showing a successful representation of you as a child,” Davis said. “It’s important to know that there is someone you can look at and say, ‘This person is successful. This is someone I can follow.'”
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Aside from showing positive examples, Davis said she makes sure to teach her students about diversity and inclusion.
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“I love teaching my kids that our differences make us beautiful,” she said. “What makes us a beautiful country is that we are going to celebrate our differences, not deviate from them, not be divided by them, but we get to celebrate them because we are a melting pot country.”
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