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A ‘smashing’ end to the school year

North Godwin hosts piñata celebration

Godwin — Fourth-grader Milan Chimal noticed that Jasmin Ranero-Lopez was building something in her office.

When she learned it was a piñata, Milan and her friend and classmate Joseline Yanez-Requeña were among the first students to offer to help build it. 

“It is something I have seen at parties, but have never actually made one,” Milan said. “It was kind of messy, but it was fun to see how you make a piñata.”

Ranero-Lopez, a KSSN community school coordinator at North Godwin, admitted she was surprised at the number of students who wanted to pitch in and help, but it only underscored the reason she started the piñata project.

From left, fourth-graders Ja’Siah Griffin, Serenity Bates, Adut Angok and Madianna Navarro-Upton stand next to the piñata (courtesy)

Sharing a Tradition 

A tradition in many Latin American cultures, such as Mexico, modern-day piñatas are primarily used for celebrations and to bring communities together.

“The idea was to create a piñata that at the end of the school year teachers would break, serving (as) more of a community event for the school where students and staff come together and have fun together,” Ranero-Lopez said. 

Ranero-Lopez, who has made several piñatas for family members, got started on the project in January. The design was the school’s mascot, the wolverine. Students helped in the construction of the piñata, decorating and adding the tissue paper.

“I wanted to have something for the students to participate in,” Ranero-Lopez said. “During the construction, they helped me out a lot and it was something fun for the students that gave them an opportunity to take their minds off of things going around them.”

Messy but Fun

“I was kind of nervous about working on it,” said third-grader Da’Shaunti Clay. “I was worried about messing up, but Mrs. Ranero-Lopez showed us it was OK to make mistakes and that they could be fixed.

“In the end, it turned out to be beautiful. It was a real masterpiece.”

Inside the piñata were bags labeled for each classroom, filled with suggestions from teachers such as toys and candy. 

At the school’s year-end PRIDE assembly on May 19, students and staff gathered in the gym, where teachers, and a few students, were able to hit the piñata as students cheered them on. It only took a few minutes for the piñata to be smashed open, its contents spilling out onto the floor.

“We did all that work, just for that,” Da’Shaunti said.

Staff and students worked to break open the piñata during an assembly at North Godwin
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Joanne Bailey-Boorsma
Joanne Bailey-Boorsma
Joanne Bailey-Boorsma is a reporter covering Kent ISD, Godwin Heights, Kelloggsville, Forest Hills and Comstock Park. The salutatorian for the Hartland Public Schools class of 1985, she changed her colors from blue and maize to green and white by attending Michigan State University, where she majored in journalism. Joanne moved to the Grand Rapids area in 1989, where she started her journalism career at the Advance Newspapers. She later became the editor for On-the-Town magazine, a local arts and entertainment publication. Her eldest daughter is a nurse, working in Holland, and her youngest attends Oakland University. Both are graduates from Byron Center High School. She is a volunteer for the Van Singel Fine Arts Advisory Board and the Kent District Library. In her free time, Joanne enjoys spending time with her family, checking out local theater and keeping up with all the exchange students they have hosted through the years. Read Joanne's full bio


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