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Mothers celebrated at Soboba Tribal Preschool event

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Teachers and staff at the Soboba Tribal Preschool went all out to honor their students’ mothers, grandmothers and other female role models at a Mother’s Day Brunch on May 14. The multipurpose room adjacent to the classrooms was transformed into a strawberry patch with balloons, cutouts and more to greet the “Berry Best” moms.

A family photo in front of the “Berry Best Mom” display at the May 14 Soboba Tribal Preschool Mother’s Day Brunch helps make memories for Tenielle and her children Sitka and Notoowish Velazquez and Elena Vega-Castello and her twins Kut and Paa’kal. Proud grandma Denielle Womack, at right, joins in the celebration. | Photos courtesy of the Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians

The children had surprise gifts for their moms, too. They decorated canvas tote bags and filled out questionnaires “All About Mom.” Preschooler Nadia said her mom’s name is “Mommy” and that she is really good at “everything.” A classmate of hers said their favorite thing about their mom is “when she gives me cookies.”

Soboba Tribal Preschool teachers and staff serve food to invited guests, May 14.

Pre-K students used colorful handprints in a circle to resemble a flower to which green stems were painted on. Inside was a jar candle decorated with a mosaic made from colorful tissue paper. Kindergartners colored flower pots that were printed on the totes and decorated plates that were put inside each one. Grandmothers received keychains with mini handprints on them.

Decorated tote bags are among the many handmade gifts preschool students made for their mothers and grandmothers.

Glori Lindsey said her daughter Avareign, 6, did a “berry good job” with all the gifts she made. “I love everything so much,” she said. Glori was able to spend some valuable time with her family, which also includes two sons, on the official Mother’s Day of May 12 at a resort in Palm Springs.

Celena Morillo and her daughter, Menyil Tohee, 5, enjoy everything the preschool has to offer. “I like all the different things they ask them to make; they are very creative,” Celena said. On Mother’s Day her family cooked her breakfast and then all her sisters came over for lunch and to spend time together outside.

Rosemary Morillo is great-grandmother to Avareign and grandmother to Menyil and shared the time with fellow grandmother Nancy Beltran. Another great-granddaughter of Morillo’s is Nehsoon Salas, 5, who filled in the blanks “All About My Mom” by saying if she could tell her mom one thing, it would be, “You are gorgeous.” The kindergartner’s mother Avelaka Gonzales said this is the first year her daughter has attended the preschool.

Nehsoon Salas shares a card she filled out “All About My Mom” at her preschool’s Mother’s Day celebration.

“She has learned so much about animals and plants and she’s having fun while she’s doing it so that’s the best part,” Gonzales said. On Mother’s Day she was treated to a spa day while Nehsoon and other family members cleaned the house for her.

Morillo, who offered a blessing before the brunch was served, said, “It’s always an honor to get together with all the mothers,” she said. She asked the Creator to bless all family members in attendance and reminded everyone to “cherish these moments with your young ones, as time goes by so fast.”

Preschool teachers and staff served up mini cold cut sandwiches, two kinds of salad, chicken, mashed potatoes, green beans and pasta salad. There were also bags of chips and other crunchy snacks, a huge bowl of fresh berries and strawberry topped cupcakes and Rice Krispie treats. All of this was washed down with lemonade, bottled water or a refreshing strawberry drink.

Corryn Salgado-Flores enjoyed the morning with her daughter Love Salgado-Flores, 3, and son Ace Covington, 5, along with their grandmother Becky Flores. Corryn said she likes that the preschool offers her children a chance to learn their Native language. “They also get to go to school with a few of their cousins,” she said.

Corryn Salgado-Flores, center, with her daughter Love Salgado-Flores, 3, and son Ace Covington, 5, along with their grandmother Becky Flores during the Soboba Tribal Preschool Mother’s Day Brunch, May 14.

The event provided an opportunity for all siblings and relatives who are in different classrooms to be together to celebrate as a family.

Tribal Council Secretary Monica Herrera has two grandchildren who are students there; Pre-K student Palki and kindergartner Gabe who were with their mom, Alyssa Salgado.

“I like the themes they do every year; it’s always super cute,” Herrera said. “I love that the school does this to bring the community together.”

Soboba Tribal Council Secretary Monica Herrera with her two grandchildren who are students at the preschool. Pre-K student Palki and kindergartner Gabe and their mom Alyssa Salgado enjoyed the celebration.

Cyndi Lemke, whose grandson Iggy Alcala is in the kindergarten class, had a great personal Mother’s Day. “All the moms came to my house,” she said. “All us ladies had snacks and watched movies while the guys made and served breakfast. It was also my birthday, so I got extra flowers.”

Soboba Tribal Vice Chairwoman Geneva Mojado said, “I came to celebrate with all these special moms.” Mother of two, she enjoyed her own Mother’s Day on May 12. “We had Sunday brunch at the casino, which was amazing.”

One of the newest moms in attendance was Daise Burton with her five-week-old son, Jobi, who has an older brother Joseph, 8, and an older sister, Loovi, 4, who is in Ana Garcia’s Pre-K class. The kids were joined by their “glamma” Dondi Silvas, who serves as Soboba Foundation President and Housing Specialist for Soboba Housing.

Daise Burton with her five-week-old son, Jobi, and daughter, Loovi, 4, who is in the Pre-K class at the Soboba Tribal Preschool.

Sierra Mendez had a second son six weeks ago and was at the event with her four-year-old son, Kuyvaxish Mendez, who is in Lenora “Ponie” Mojado’s class. Sierra also has a stepdaughter, who is 10. She was pleased to be one of the lucky raffle prize recipients and chose a satin sleep mask and pillowcase set, sure to be well used in the future. Other choices were handbags and cast-iron pans.

Preschool teacher Mojado has two sons; Mac is 10 and Eli is 8. She had spent Sunday with family at the Soboba Casino Resort’s brunch. “It was amazing; they had a buffet with different items,” she said. “Then I went shopping at Bath and Body Works and later I went to my sister’s house for family dinner. It was the perfect Mother’s Day of relaxing and shopping.”

She enjoyed giving out prizes at the raffle and said the mothers in attendance seemed to feel really appreciated and enjoyed the food they were served.

“My favorite part about working with children is they make me laugh and smile,” Mojado said. “We always joke around in my preschool class. I always make the children laugh and carry on a conversation. It’s always a fun time in the preschool room with all my little friends.”

Julissa Garcia is an Instructional Aide in the pre-kindergarten classroom. Celebrating Mother’s Day with her almost one-year-old son included going to dinner with her mother and aunt.

“My son and his dad also shared gifts and gave me a couple extra hours of sleep,” she said.

Many gifts the children made revolve around the strawberry theme of the Mother’s Day Brunch.

She enjoyed the feeling of togetherness at the preschool’s brunch.

“I liked seeing all of our children’s families show up for them and their reactions to the handcrafted gifts they made in class,” Garcia said. Her favorite part of working with the young children is “seeing them grow and progress each day and being given the opportunity to help foster lifelong learning.”

Preschool staff have already begun preparations for a Father’s Day luncheon on May 31.

Celena Pimental and her daughter Emilia, 5, take a photo outside the Soboba Tribal Preschool before joining the Mother’s Day celebration inside.

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