A Philippine Parol in Las Vegas – International teachers share a cultural tradition

Recently, the Greenheart team visited Valley High School in Las Vegas to check in on our Teach USA teachers and speak with the Host Schools.  Some of those teachers gave us a story highlighting just one of the many benefits of cultural exchange–sharing cultural traditions with their adopted communities.

Here are Clark County School District teachers Toni and Herden (Special Education Teachers at Valley High School) and Nelly (Special Education teacher at Desert Pines) and their winning design for a traditional Philippine Parol. As told by Toni!

A Catriona Gray-inspired Parol

“Our Catriona Gray-inspired Parol won 1st place at the Philippine American Chamber Parol Making Contest!  I conceptualized it, Herden helped me to execute it with the help of Nely and other housemates.

Christmas for Filipinos would not be complete without the most iconic symbol “the Christmas Lantern”–or known locally the “Parol”. This once-a-year celebration is expected to be colorful, vibrant, steeped in tradition, bright, and undeniably radiant.

This “Parol” is inspired by 2018 Miss Universe Catriona Gray and is full of symbolism. We named it “Catriona Parol” because of its shape which is the same as the shape of Catriona’s trendsetting earring when she won the title “Miss Universe 2018″ and made an image of a fearless, strong and forward Filipina. This implies that we, the J1 teachers also known as the cultural exchange teachers here in the USA, can also be fearless, strong and forward in turning every child’s dream into reality through our abilities and passion in teaching which includes the story of the birth of a baby who symbolizes hope amidst challenging times.

Filipinos are also known for their creative reuse expertise. This means we are good at transforming by-products, waste materials, and useless, or unwanted products into new materials or products perceived to be of greater quality. In making this parol, we reused papers, amazon boxes, cups, plastic bottles, cottons, necklaces, shells and chestnuts to show how we value our environment, our culture and our loved ones that reminds us of our purpose, and our goodwill in this holiday season.

The dominant colors white, blue, yellow and red represents the color of a Philippine flag. It has also blue, white and red at the side with the 50 stars which represents the United States of America. We intend to show the unity of these two countries. We also hope to show how proud we are as Filipinos by raising our flag with a glimpse of joy and hope this Christmas amidst darkness.”


Thank you Toni for sharing the story, and congratulations to Toni, Herden, and Nely for your winning design!  

Thank you to Clark County School District for hosting Greenheart’s International teachers at your schools.  To learn more about bringing the world to your schools and communities, visit GreenheartExchange.org.