Spanish Teacher Connects Students with School in Puerto Rico

(PDF with photo) March 23, 2018 – When Hurricane Maria devastated the island of Puerto Rico last fall, it was more than just sad news to North Caroline High School Spanish teacher Mirta Valdes-Bradner. She was born and raised in Puerto Rico, and is still connected to many family and friends on the island. 

One friend in particular is Maritza Arrieta, the Director/Principal of a school known as Josefita. Ms. Valdes-Bradner was able to get in touch with Ms. Arrieta, and learned the school was serving students every weekday but operating without electricity. 

Ms. Valdes-Bradner’s students began sending supplies such as personal hygiene items, school supplies, and batteries. Most importantly, they included notes written in Spanish that expressed encouragement and best wishes. 

“The packages took them by surprise, and they were very touched,” said Ms. Valdes-Bradner. “They not only had things they could use in class, but also batteries and wipes. But mostly, they had students in a place far away that knew of them and their courage and fight to keep on learning.” Ms. Arrieta Is having her students write thank you letters in English back to the North Caroline students.   

“What started as an act of goodwill and helping others will now be a project,” she continued. “It was not intended to be that. Puerto Rico is still suffering. This will be a way for her students to share customs and culture with my students, and for mine to use their language skills and share about our county, school, and family. For me, it’s a way to be a part of my island while so far away and feel we have done a little bit to let them know we remember and won’t forget them.”