As a public educator, I aim to share my story with those interested about what really happens inside today's classroom. I hope my stories inspire, educate, and entertain you, as the calling of teaching is never neat or predictable. Please note that my blog content does not necessarily reflect the viewpoints or beliefs of my school district or colleagues.
Super Teacher's Job is Never Done!
Photo courtesy of DiscoveryEducation.com
Teaching is the profession that teaches all the other professions. ~ Author Unknown
My goal is to reveal one teacher's humble journey of self-reflection, critical analysis, and endless questioning about my craft of teaching and learning alongside my middle school students.
"The dream begins with a teacher who believes in you, who tugs and pushes and leads you to the next plateau, sometimes poking you with a sharp stick called 'truth'." ~ Dan Rather
Monday, September 19, 2011
Founder of Boys' Town Life Lives On
Just saw this and thought it might be of interest . . .
September 16, 2011
Jesús Silva, Priest Who Founded Spanish Boys Town, Dies at 78
Jesús Silva, a Spanish priest who responded to the problems of poor and neglected children in his native province, Galicia, by founding a self-governing Boys Town, whose children’s circus toured the world to great acclaim in the 1970s, died on Sept. 2 in Ourense, Spain. He was 78.
Spanish newspapers and news agencies reported that he had died of a brain hemorrhage.
Father Silva was still a seminarian in 1956 when he came to the aid of 15 boys who had been orphaned or abandoned and found refuge for them in his mother’s house. Inspired by the 1938 film “Boys Town,” which he had seen as a child, and by a distinctly Marxist interpretation of the Gospels, he established the Ciudad de los Muchachos, or Boys Town, on property outside Ourense purchased for him by his brother, a lawyer.
“Change was the fundamental element of our teaching,” he told the newspaper Diario de Navarra in 2009. “The idea was to change a world that we were dissatisfied with. We said, ‘Another world is possible.’ ”
The self-sufficiency and self-rule of the original Boys Town in Nebraska, which evolved from an orphanage founded by the Rev. Edward J. Flanagan in 1917, provided a model. At the Spanish charity’s property, Benposta, Father Silva built residences and schools to train the boys, as young as 4 and as old as 20, in a trade or profession.
Adults were assigned a supporting role. The children governed the town, electing their own mayor and cabinet, and voting on decisions in a two-house legislature. By the 1970s, about 2,000 children lived in the town. “It’s funny that 22 years before we had democracy in this country, Benposta was holding a mayoral election,” Father Silva said.
The town had its own police force and municipal officials, as well as a bakery, grocery store and printing press. It even had its own currency.
More than 50,000 boys passed through Benposta, which served as a model for similar projects in Belgium, Colombia, Venezuela, Nicaragua, Mozambique and the Dominican Republic.
Because one of Father Silva’s uncles was a circus promoter, he held the unusual post of circus chaplain, ministering to troupes throughout Spain for many years. In 1963 he created the International Circus School at Benposta, which trained El Circo de los Muchachos, billed as “a circus for kids performed by kids.”
After making its inaugural performance in Barcelona in 1966, and touring Spain and Portugal, the circus began touring farther afield in 1970. It scored a hit at the Grand Palais in Paris and, to generate publicity on its American tour in 1973, performed on the steps of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan.
The highlight of every performance was the Harlequin Tower, a human pyramid with a moral message: the stronger supported the weaker, with a small child elevated to the top position. The circus eventually appeared in more than 80 countries.
Jesús César Silva Mendéz was born on Jan. 25, 1933, in Ourense. After graduating from Cardinal Cisneros College in Ourense, where he studied painting and drawing, he earned degrees in philosophy and theology from the Pontifical University, a Jesuit institution in Comillas. He was ordained in 1957.
He is survived by a brother, José Manuel Silva Mendéz, of Ourense.
The Spanish Boys Town, also known as Boys Nation since the 1960s, came into conflict with Galicia’s regional government, which wanted to build a football stadium on its property. It closed in 2003.