By Dianne de Guzman
The star-shaped lanterns at the theater in Jesse Bethel High School were made of every color imaginable, put together with bits of glue, tissue paper, tinsel, wrapping paper — anything the students of Lucy Marte’s Filipino 1 language classes could get their hands on. It was time yet again for the school’s annual Parol Festival and Competition.
Parols are a Christmas tradition in the Philippines; they are star-shaped lanterns meant to symbolize the star of Bethlehem that led the three wise men to the manger where Jesus was born.
Here in Vallejo, the lanterns were part of that larger tradition of the Philippines, but also served as a teaching point for culture, cooperation among students and a symbol of school community.