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Marsalli Family Celebrates Thanksgiving by Serving Others

Marsalli Family Celebrates Thanksgiving by Serving Others
By Melissa McKenzie

While families were huddled around their dining room tables, giving thanks for everything they have, there were many who spent the holiday alone. They may not have had a place to go, the funds to put together a feast, or the ability to cook a meal this holiday season. Enter the Marsalli family.

For the last six years (this year being the seventh), the Marsallis have gathered together at St. Clare Parish Hall off Lexington and Lafayette streets to give thanks while serving others. It’s a tradition that keeps giving, as each year the amount of people they serve has grown.

Patriarch Larry Marsalli has always said that it doesn’t matter where someone is from or what their story is, but if they need a place to go, a warm meal and a friendly smile, they will always be welcome. This year was no different.

Violetta De La Parra arrived with her six-year-old daughters, Dasha and Neisha Chirinos, to partake in the holiday tradition.

“We’re so happy,” she said. “It’s our first time. We’re living at the shelter, Homesafe in San Jose, and there was a flyer there. I have no family here and I have no one to go to, so it was perfect. I never expected it was like this. It’s so beautiful.”

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Chinese Splash Ink Painting Exhibit Opens December 14 at the Silicon Valley Asian Art Center
By Diane Andrews

Chinese Splash Ink Painting Exhibit Opens December 14 at the Silicon Valley Asian Art Center

The Silicon Valley Asian Art Center & Narx Gallery in Santa Clara will host an exhibit organized by the American Society for the Advancement of Chinese Arts (ASACA), showcasing splash ink, traditional paintings, and calligraphy December 14 - 22. The opening ceremony December 14 at 2 p.m. is open to the public, and admission is free.

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Learning Music Like Language
By Melissa McKenzie

Learning Music Like Language

What if learning guitar came as easily as learning your first language - if the ability to play became second nature? It can be at The California Conservatory of Guitar, a Santa Clara-based school that employs the Suzuki method of teaching.

“The general idea is it is for younger kids and you teach music as if it was a language,” said Robert Miller, who co-owns the school with Chris Mallett. “There are some things that differ this method from traditional methods. In a lot of places, the kids are taught to read music right away, whereas in this method they’re taught by ear and they’re taught with the help of their parents. If you think about the language that you spoke at home with your parents, you would start to pick it up...So, it’s environmental learning in a way. The parents come in for a couple of classes before the kids start and they learn a little bit of guitar, which brings the guitar into the household and makes the kid really curious about the instrument. Then they attend the lessons and help the kids practice at home...When they do their first task on the guitar they get a lot of positive reinforcement and it makes them want to do it again...The students are always given really small, easy tasks that they can do that builds their confidence and then those tasks or skills are built upon.”

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'Tis the Season for the San Jose Harvest Festival
By Diane Andrews

Tis the Season for the San Jose Harvest Festival

November and December is high season for holiday craft fairs, as omnipresent and eagerly anticipated as Santa himself with a sleigh full of handmade toys on Christmas Eve. The 2013 San Jose Harvest Festival, which drew almost 12,000 shoppers over three days in 2012, returned to the San Jose Convention Center for its 41st show, part of downtown San Jose’s holiday tradition on Thanksgiving weekend.

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This Week's Letters

According to the last defeat of a school tax measure, I think people finally realize that the passing of school taxes leads to increased property taxes, most with no end date.

I propose that any future school tax increase be accompanied by a detailed public report on what the previous tax monies were spent on.

I bet that instead of roof and classroom improvements as stated in the ballots, most of the money went to pay and hire more administrators.

Manuel Sousa

Indigenous People Topic of Montelongo’s Latest Work
By Melissa McKenzie

Indigenous People Topic of Montelongo’s Latest Work

Art is something that needs to be done with conviction. From bringing to light the problems that face society to creating a window to the past, artists around the world use their chosen medium to incite change or reflect what they see.

For Santa Clara-based artist Elizabeth Jiménez Montelongo, social issues like immigration and tapping into her heritage are topics that encompass her latest body of work, “Our New Sun,” which features indigenous Mexican dancers. “It represents part of my ancestry with indigenous Mexicans and what they went through during the Conquest,” said Montelongo. “There was a lot of violence and they tried to repress their culture. So they would - at the risk of having limbs chopped off - still do their dances and try to do them in hidden places like up in the mountains...It’s really important to me because it shows that they didn’t give up their culture.”

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St. Lawrence Academy Lets Students Discover Their Voices
By Melissa McKenzie

St. Lawrence Academy Lets Students Discover Their Voices

There have been some big changes at Santa Clara’s St. Lawrence Academy. The school’s governance model has changed, and with that, new programs and attitudes have been introduced to the small, Catholic high school.

“It’s no longer a parish high school even though it’s on the parish grounds,” said first-year President Phil Dolan. “It’s now like Mitty and governed by the diocese.”

In addition to switching the governing body from the parish to the diocese, the school has worked to combat dwindling enrollment by giving the school a facelift, changing its tagline to “discover your voice,” and celebrating its size.

“Kids can participate in any sport,” said Dolan. “They don’t have to tryout to participate. If they don’t make the first team, for example, they’re not cut. They’re still part of the team and they may just get their skills developed before they start playing. But, if you’ve never played volley[ball] before and you’re a sophomore or junior and you want to play - you can play. That doesn’t happen at some of the larger schools...It’s the same with the clubs - the co-curriculars.”

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