By CRISTINA JANNEY
Wednesday in Hays, Edgar Rene´ of Puerto Rico used song and dance to bring Spanish to life for students.
He performed for a group of area Spanish students at the 12th Street Auditorium. The students have spent the last several months listening to Spanish songs from Rene´’s performance.
Caitlin Leiker, Hays High School student, sang with the Rene´ and students from HHS performed a dance routine with the singer.
Rene´’s tour “Viviras 2018-2019” seeks to help students better their Spanish language skills, but learn about Hispanic culture. He also brings a message of positive self image to the students.
Rene´ told the students performing on this U.S. tour was the culmination of a dream for him.
“I am blessed and grateful that you gave me the opportunity to be here to share my music with you guys and my message,” he said.
He said he first knew he wanted to be a singer when he was a boy and was asked to sing the “The Star -Spangled Banner.” He is a native-Spanish speaker and was trying to sing the words in English. He forgot some of the words, but he said that performance made him fall in love with singing and music.
“I practiced and practiced, and I touched a lot of doors, and I saw a lot of doors close in my face,” he said.
He related an instance during this tour that helped him know he was following the right dream.
A student came up to him after a performance in Pennsylvania. Rene´ asked him if he wanted to have his picture taken with him. The boy said he had no cellphone to take the picture, so Rene’ used his own cellphone to snap the photo. The boy began to cry. He said no one had ever taken a picture with him. His mother was gone, and he did not have a good relationship with his dad.
The boy said he was near giving up — quitting on life. He said Rene´ had given him hope to go on and hope enough to try to build a relationship with his dad.
Rene´ said he had to excuse himself from the autograph session because he was crying.
He told the students that he hoped they would always choose viviras (living).
“That is why we are here” he said, “not only to sing and dance and have fun. We are here to say it is not over here. There is a purpose in your life. You guys are awesome. Every time you look at the mirror, you look at a beautiful person. You look at yourself, love you first, then you can [give] love to the people.”
He continued, “When we learn another language, we are more human. When we can understand others, we can understand their cultures and we allow others to understand us too.”
TMP, Larned High School, Trego High School and Quinter High School students also attended the performance.