Friday, April 20, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 7

Santa Maria Sun / School Scene

The following article was posted on July 16th, 2014, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 15, Issue 19 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 15, Issue 19

Discovery Corner: From Barcelona, with love


Oriol Roche, a foreign exchange student from Spain, came to Santa Maria this summer with a heartfelt purpose. He wanted to make a difference. His love for education lead him to the Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum, where he helped develop a new cultural program called Passport Thursday. Oriol spent time researching and preparing activities, and had the opportunity to teach kids a traditional dance from Spain and how to make their own French perfume. Museum staffers have absolutely loved getting to know Oriol! His enthusiasm, happy face, and smile will be missed … but his legacy will carry on with the program he helped to create. We wanted you to know him, too, so Oriol agreed to sit down with a cup of tea for a little interview with me.

Erin: What was you perception of the Discovery Museum, and what is your favorite exhibit?

Oriol: I think the Discovery Museum is a fantastic initiative that helps kids learn and have tons of fun at the same time. It has everything a child might need to have a blast, plus the staff members are hard-working, imaginative, and great. My favorite exhibit would definitely have to be the whale, because I believe it’s very educational in a light-hearted way.

E: What is it that draws you to Passport Thursday, and why did you want to get involved?

O: I like the idea of teaching local children a little bit about what awaits them outside the United States. The program consists of specific information about a country in the world, followed by an activity related to its traditions. So far we’ve traveled to India, Spain, and France. Italy, Greece, and Egypt are coming up next.

E: What was it like to be around kids and to educate them?

O: It was fantastic. I really like kids, and seeing them smile and having fun was just amazing. At first I was terrified I wouldn’t know how to catch their attention, but the space where the program takes place is marvelous in that sense: It’s small and we could all see each other’s faces. Plus, the staff was super helpful and nice.

E: If you were still a young child, what exhibits here do you think you would have enjoyed?

O: I would have probably loved Tide and Seek, Mars Rock Climbing Wall, and the whale. All of these exhibits have a meaning and a purpose, but these three are really fun.

E: Do you frequent museums in Barcelona? Do they have children’s museums there?

O: I do go to museums in Barcelona, even though not as much as I’d like to. My favorite is probably Caixa Fòrum—it has plenty of modern stuff next to more classic exhibits. There might be children’s museums, but not that I know of. There are definitely museums that have specific parts for children, such as Cosmo Caixa, and sometimes these exhibits are even better than the adult ones!

E: As a staff member myself, I can tell you that you will be very missed. You have a way of lighting up a room. We hope you will remain a friend of the museum and come back soon!

Passport Thursdays at 11 a.m. aim to enrich children’s lives by exposing them to traditions and customs that are different from their own through art, music, food, crafts, and more. Share your culture with us and be a special host like Oriol! Like us on Facebook at smvdiscoverymuseum to learn more about all of our weekly programs, special events, and exhibits, and get daily tips on fun things to do with your kids. The Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum is located at 705 S. McClelland St. in Santa Maria. We are open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.


Erin Kiniry, Program Coordinator for the Santa Maria Valley Discovery Museum, wrote this week’s Discovery Corner, a weekly column in the Sun highlighting events, science activities, and more. Send comments to

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