A group of students and teachers from Margarita Muñiz Academy in Jamaica Plain are currently on a ten-day trip in Cuba where the itinerary includes visiting the family of the school’s namesake.
Margarita Muñiz was the former principal of Egleston Square’s Rafael Hernandez School who died in 2011 after a long battle with cancer. The academy opened in 2012 and was dedicated to her.
The Gazette spoke with Margarita Muñiz Academy Headmaster Dania Vázquez on Feb. 16, the day before Vázquez, two teachers, and eight students left for their trip. She said that they were going to make a “very unique stop” while in Cuba, visiting the family of Muñiz and showcasing the success of the academy.
“We are the living legacy of Muñiz,” said Vázquez.
She said the Cuba trip came about as the academy does an international trip every couple of years, and with the travel restrictions being lifted, the school thought Cuba would be a good fit. Vázquez said that the students have been preparing for the trip reading, watching films, and learning the history of Cuba. Recent immigrants from the country have also spoken to the students, she said.
“Now they get to go see it. That’s what so exciting for them,” Vázquez.
The group has fundraised $25,000 through events, such as bake sales and Yankee candle sales. The group had extra time to collect money after the originally trip was postponed last February because of concerns over the Zika virus.
Vázquez said the students will visit historic places, museums, and be able to see people’s perspective of living under socialism/communism and contrast it with the American experience.
“They are eager to understand their socio-cultural perspective,” said Vázquez, “especially at this moment in history: [Fidel] Castro dead and the doors being opened.”
Peter Shanley, Jamaica Plain Gazette
February 24, 2017