Tosa East Students Visit Bruce Guadalupe Community School


Abigail Heffner, East Staff Writer

On Friday, December 16th, around 30 Tosa East Spanish students and teachers delivered holiday gifts to kindergarten students from the Bruce Guadalupe Community School. Several Spanish teachers and upperclassmen helped organize and distribute gift bags to over 320 young students. Each festively decorated bag contained a new hat, mittens, a children’s book, and a toy donated by the Wauwatosa East and West Community. 

The Bruce Guadalupe Community Charter School is one of the many educational facilities that are a part of the United Community Center (UCC). UCC is a community-oriented help center that strives to serve and protect the Latinx community of Milwaukee from the late 1960s. The center offers many essential resources and programs to help all members achieve their highest potential. The Bruce Guadalupe Community School aids in early developmental, educational, and cultural skills for students from kindergarten to 5th grade in the East Milwaukee area, many of whom come from lower-income households. Especially during the holidays, the school sees an increase in students without access to warm clothes or toys to open on Christmas. 

As most students from Bruce Guadalupe identify as Hispanic, Bruce Guadalupe’s program is unique because their teachers offer lessons in both English and Spanish for their students. They also notably see a high performance in a bi-cultural environment for young students to learn and grow. Because the Wauwatosa East Spanish department is dedicated to serving and learning from different Hispanic cultures, Bruce Guadalupe’s partnership is incredibly important to the Tosa East Spanish department.

This holiday fundraiser for Bruce Guadalupe began almost 30 years ago when the Bruce Guadalupe staff reached out to the Wauwatosa Spanish department, seeking hats, gloves, and books for children who didn’t have access to those resources and wouldn’t be receiving them at Christmas. Tosa East Spanish teachers at the time, Señora O’Connell and Señora Urban, eagerly began a strong partnership between their school and the Spanish department at Wauwatosa East. This project successfully became an annual tradition to help ensure that all Junior and Senior Kindergarten students have winter necessities for cold weather and toys during the holidays. Current Spanish teachers Anna Troy, Jessica Talavera, Colleen Dardis, and members of the faculty at Bruce Guadalupe have all worked very hard to organize and continue making this project possible for families in need.  

Anna Troy, better known as “Señora” Troy among Spanish learners at Tosa East, is one of the determined coordinators behind this project. Troy wants to express that “it takes a group effort to make a project like this really happen” and give “a big thank you” to everyone involved. She’s also grateful for Tosa East’s partnership with the United Community Center and The Bruce Guadalupe Community School. “I’m grateful that we’ve been able to continue to work with a wonderful school in the community,” Troy says. In the future, she would like to see a more “sustained partnership with our students and kindergarten program beyond the one-day visit.” Troy believes that “a lot can come from building a stronger relationship with the students” beyond just the donations.

All in all, a little effort can go a long way for many of these children. Our coordinators, volunteers, and contributors are all very proud to have made this project possible and would like to continue doing so. If you weren’t able to donate or help out this year, no worries! But please consider contributing or spreading the message for next year to help support this incredibly important school and the young learners in it. Linked below is the school’s donations page for alternative ways to support them and their mission.