Nationwide high school students study St. Augustine’s Spanish heritage

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The historic Ximenez-Fatio House Museum at 20 Aviles Street in downtown St. Augustine, recently hosted 30 high school students from across the nation in a partnership program of Flagler College and the Florida Humanities Council. On June 18, eligible students who have entered 11th or 12th grades in August and September toured and filmed the historic property as part of the academic summer session on St. Augustine’s Spanish Heritage and studies with Professor María José Maguire, assistant professor of Spanish in the School of Humanities and Sciences at the college.

During the seminar week, students learned about the history of St.Augustine, focusing on its Spanish legacy by exploring the Ximenez-Fatio House, the Castillo de San Marcos and Fort Matanzas National Monument. In preparation for the site visits, students were provided with information packages which served as seed material for structured group presentations and a filming project about the Spanish presence in St. Augustine. Additionally, students incorporated Spanish vocabulary and phrases into the documentary footage using on-camera presentations and research to interpret their vision of St. Augustine.

According to program materials, Florida’s identity is as much forged by its natural gifts as it is by the imaginations of those who encounter it. Manmade and wild, ancient and modern, paradise and purgatory, students spent seven days and six nights on the Flagler College campus while studying historic individuals who left their mark on St. Augustine through stories, buildings, natural spaces and the absence of many modern-day conveniences. 

Flagler College faculty from the disciplines of Spanish and Latin American studies, history, rhetoric, women’s studies, Florida studies, coastal environmental science and literature conducted classroom and field experiences around the city. The culmination of the experience was the film project with participants adding their own St. Augustine story to the ongoing narrative about the ancient city. Cost for the summer session was $400 per student, which included participation and transportation to all scheduled events. activities, program supplies, entrance and equipment fees, use of college facilities, meals and lodging. For more information, visit www.flagler.edu/summerseminar.

The recent student activities support the property owners, The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in The State of Florida and the organization’s mission to support public outreach which promotes the nation’s heritage through preservation, patriotic service, and educational projects. 

As a visitor destination, the Ximenez-Fatio House Museum is open for tours Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Guided tours of the buildings and rooms are available from 10 a.m. until 2:30 p.m.; the venue is closed Sundays and Mondays. The property is available for group functions including weddings and events. During tours, regular admission is $5 for St. Johns County residents; adults $10; children, students, seniors and military $8, and the family rate is $25. Private group rates are $6.50 per person. 

Find them on Facebook at ximenez-fatio house museum.

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