Hot Tamales! Families gather for Tamalada tradition


Esmeralda Aguilar (8), Jessica Swofford (12) and Maria Martinez help set up for the Tamalada

Emily Weaver, Staff Writer

On Saturday, December 5th, Ann Richards hosted the 10th annual Tamalada. Many families gathered in the cafeteria to make tamales, instructed by Ann Richards students.
According to Diana Nenque, Parent Support Specialist and Tamalada Coordinator, the event has grown significantly. The tradition started after Nenque noticed a trend among the students.

Diana Nenque, Tamale Coordinator helps make packages for the tamales.
Diana Nenque, Tamale Coordinator, helps make packages for the tamales.

“I started the Tamalada because the girls… complained every single day that the teachers had no idea what they went through,” said Nenque. “What I wanted to do was put everybody in a reverse role. I wanted the girls to learn how to make tamales, to create a lesson plan, and to come in and teach. I told the teachers, ‘You all will be the students. You all will come in and learn from them.’”

The first year, girls taught teachers how to make tamales, which they then distributed to people who had pre-ordered batches.

“The girls went chaotic selling tamales,” said Nenque. “By that day, they told me we would need about 112 dozen. I about passed out.”

Now, the event has become more social, expanding to include parents and family friends. Emma Pineda, sophomore, has been participating in the Tamalada since 6th grade.

“There’s a lot of parents from sixth grade that have been here [every year] and a lot of the parents of graduated students,” said Pineda.

While many girls continue to participate year after year, some began a new tradition on Saturday. Junior Sarah and her mother came to make tamales for the first time, for example.

“I came because Ms. Nenque has talked about it in the past, and it sounded like a really fun activity, and a good way to meet some of the other parents at the school,” one parent said.

“It’s very relaxing, and kind of interesting, the different ways you can make a tamale not fall apart,” said Sarah. “It was interesting to see how I got better at making them. The last one I made was, like, the perfect tamale.”

Sarah (11) and Barbara Brawn make tamales for the first time.
A student and her mother make tamales for the first time.

Many other parents came to make tamales, including Laticia Marquez, with her two daughters, Calista and Lily Marquez.

“We’ve made them before, but we haven’t made them in a while,” said Laticia Marques. “We can get some and then cook them for the holidays. I like making them in parties like this, because you get to share the prep work, you get to share the clean up, it’s more social. It makes this big cooking task really fun.”