For the past several weeks, Señora Carmen Herrera’s Spanish Language and Culture High School Classes have been learning about Frida Kahlo, the boundary-breaking, brave Mexican painter who embodied strength, overcoming unthinkable emotional and physical adversity, and lived in opposition to gender stereotypes.
Before our studies, the class knew little of Frida beyond her paintings. After watching the award-winning film, “Frida,” reading Spanish stories that tell of her life, writing creative stories and poems inspired by the inspirational artist, and discussing our thoughts on Frida and all she represented, we came to appreciate fully all that she gave to this world. Frida brought passion to her work, the illness that she overcame, and the complexity of her love with Diego Rivera. She was a confident and creative trailblazer. Her quotes beautifully represent her outlook on life: Frida said, "At the end of the day we can endure much more than we think we can,” and also "Feet, what do I need you for when I have wings to fly?” which she said when she was suffering from tremendous physical pain.
On Monday, May 16, Señora Herrera’s “Lengua y Cultura” classes, in conjunction with the World and Classical Languages Department, organized a "Día de Frida," (Frida Day) to honor the legacy of Frida Kahlo. At first, the idea was to have Herrera’s students wear unibrows (one of Frida’s most distinguishing attributes) and flowers (which Frida adored and often painted) for the entire day. However, the “Día de Frida” quickly became a school-wide event. Countless students (from all grades), teachers, and members of the staff showed up with flowers in their hair and unibrows drawn on their faces. The day was remarkable, bringing the school together and inspiring passion and spirit across grades and departments. Some took a comedic approach, drawing unibrows on robots, while others took a fashionable approach, like the English and World and Classical Languages departments. Many members of the staff also put together unique outfits with a Frida touch. The hallways were cheerful and filled with color, as the school paid deserved tribute to Frida.
Surprisingly many people decked out in Frida gear, and it was even more powerful to overhear the conversations that arose out of the event. Students and teachers alike asked, “Who exactly was Frida"? There was always someone around to proudly explain. The Dalton community is now aware of the person behind the iconic self-portraits, and I am honored to have played a role in such a special day. Students, teachers, and members of the staff are eager to make “Yo soy Frida" Day a tradition at the Dalton School, and exciting plans for next year are already circulating.