By Mary Catherine Karcich, Contributing Writer
HUDSON – With help from their teacher Sónia Rodrigues, Hudson High School sophomores Rebeca Da Silva and Fernanda Finamore as well as junior Lucas Soares recently had their work published in Brazilian newspaper Jornal Joca.
Cultural teachings spur writing
It all started with a class reading.
As part of her curriculum for Hudson High’s Heritage Portuguese class, Rodrigues educates her students through literature on the differences between Portuguese-speaking countries.
“The best way to respond and accommodate this diversity is to show the linguistic variety of Portuguese around the world,” she said. “In this way, the students will increase the knowledge about Portuguese vocabulary; they will learn the differences and cultural differences that are implied in the range of Portuguese language.”
One of the books Rodrigues assigned was Memories of a Distant Country by Brazilian author Julio Emilio Braz. She shared that students enjoyed the book and were able to draw similarities from the story in relation to their personal backgrounds.
Meeting Julio Emilio Braz
Once they finished reading, Rodrigues was able to connect with Braz. She asked if he would speak with her students over Google Meet.
To encourage a natural conversation, she gave students the freedom to ask whatever they wanted to know about Braz and his book.
Rodrigues felt it was an important experience for her class to have, allowing everyone the opportunity to gain an author’s perspective and to become more engaged with that author’s work.
Not only were students excited to speak with Braz, but they wanted to keep going even after class had ended, Rodrigues shared.
Publication is a dream come true
After the original meeting, Da Silva, Finamore and Soares had a second conversation with Braz. They were then able to publish an article based on their interview in Jornal Joca.
Joca is a Portuguese language publication geared towards young people and based in Sao Paulo, Brazil. DaSilva, Finamore and Soares’ article ran in the paper back in mid-March.
For Da Silva and Finamore, this reporting experience was unforgettable. Not only did they get to learn about the life of an author and the process of writing a book, but it inspired them to believe in their dreams. They both expressed interest in becoming public figures and described their publication as “surreal.”
“Mr. Braz had the dream of writing books and being a writer and his dream came true, so we must never give up on our dreams/goals and we must always fight and do our part to make things happen,” said Da Silva.
“One of the most valuable things I learned was to believe because we are all capable of doing something, and if we really want something, we will stay positive and run after it,” Finamore said.
Finamore also credited Rodrigues, who played a key role in connecting her and her classmates with Braz.
“I know that without our teacher at our side, I couldn’t have done it, so it was everything magical and rewarding.”