A Wapakoneta Elementary School student is a typical third-grader — she loves to read, draw and play.
But Mayra Aguirre can do one thing that is atypical — she is bilingual. She is fluent in English and Spanish.
“My mom and dad know Spanish and lived in Mexico, but I grew up here,” Mayra said. “I grew up my whole life here so I know English. My mom does not know a lot of English but she is learning more and more.”
She explained she talks English at school and with her friends, but she speaks Spanish at home with her mother, Marina, and father, Alex Aguirre, and her younger brother, Jesus, who is in the first grade. At times at home, she will speak in English with her brother.
Peering through her black rimmed glasses, she also explained she doesn’t translate words from one language to the other, she just does knows both languages. She has started to teach a couple of her friends a few words in Spanish.
Mayra, with her big brown eyes and her jet black hair pulled back, is quick to point out that Spanish words are much prettier to say.
When it comes to quiet times at home, Mayra likes to draw and color all kinds of plants and flowers. Her favorite flower is the rose.
She also takes pride in her ability to spell and she loves mathematics, although she said division is posing a challenge for her right now.
Also when her father, Alex, is not working at El Azteca, the family plays a card game called Loteria.
“We have these special cards,” Mayra said. “It is a lot like bingo, but it is different. The cards are all in Spanish.”
The game helps the participants learn vocabulary words, with the participant knowing the word and meaning placing the cards in spots on a board like bingo.
She also likes to play other games with her sibling.
“My brother does like to play with me and we often play our DSIs (hand-held computer game) and whatever else we want to play,” Mayra said. “In the afternoon, we pretty much watch television and cartoons. My favorite cartoon is SpongeBob Squarepants.”
During school recess, she said she often can be found playing a special game with a ball with her friends, Emily, Katie and two friends named Cassie.
“I like school because I like my friends and I like learning stuff,” Mayra said.
During the summer, she, her brother and her mother take a trip to Mexico to visit family and friends.
“At the stores there, you grab whatever you want and you just pay them,” Mayra said. “You really don’t have to have bags.”
She explained they go to the market more in Mexico than here. Here, they typically shop for groceries on Tuesdays.
When she finishes her schooling, she may find herself returning to the classroom.
“I pretty much think I am going to be a teacher,” Mayra said, “but I still have to think about that. I am still young.”