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Lorenzo Gomez III, author of “Tafolla Toro, Three Years of Fear,” joined the Advanced Learning Academy and CAST Tech High School Production Company for a performance and discussion on mental health, live from the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center. Students performed a chapter from “Tafolla Toro,” which features letters the author wrote to his younger self, then read letters that they wrote to themselves. The event is targeted to ninth-grade students across the 5-school network.
At CAST Schools, ninth grade is the year of identity. Students, alongside educators and mentors, work to find their strengths and talents. This is also a time to reflect and recognize where help is needed. This year, amid an ongoing pandemic and constant turmoil, students at CAST have elevated mental health as a topic they would like to address further.
In the book, Gomez shares his experiences of violence and bullying during his years at Tafolla Middle School in San Antonio, Texas. He explores how those experiences impacted him throughout his life but also paves a path for discovery, finding help, and overcoming obstacles, offering a relatable, local connection point for students.
"This is the story of the years I forgot, and how I made sense of them. Everything I went through then shaped everything that came after. This book, Tafolla Torro, is the story of the shaping of who I am today." - Lorenzo Gomez, III, from "Tafolla Toro, Three Years of Fear"
This is the second year that the CAST Schools Network is partnering with Gomez and the first time that the event was hosted at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center, just blocks from Tafolla. Every ninth-grade student in the CAST Schools Network received a free book and had the option to participate in a reflective writing exercise where they will either write a letter or a poem to themselves. Prompts for the exercise include: “Would your life be different if you were not scared?” and “Write about the stuff in school that is bad for your mental health.”
"Dear Miguel, never be afraid to express yourself, you are strong, and you have meaning in the world, so much more than what people say..."
Backstage at the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center
Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center
Question and Answer with Lorenzo Gomez III