Jun 24
Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Estimadas familias,

 

Is it really the last full week of school? The start of this school year was like no other in our history. Teaching and learning during a global pandemic is a massive challenge. I am incredibly proud of all of our students, families and staff for believing in the work of public education and partnering with us over the course of this year.

A running joke among many school-based staff is that June is the longest year of the month! Finalizing a year of learning while at the same time, preparing for the new school year to come creates a unique workload that can best be defined as intensive transition planning. Transitions bring about change; a new grade level, new classmates, new teachers. It is exciting and also brings about its own uncertainty. Many families and students want to know who will be teaching what in the year to come. Believe me, our teachers want the same guarantee too! As we have shared previously, our planning is directly dependant on anticipated enrollment for next year. Changes, often unanticipated, can occur over the summer so it is difficult to promise exactly what the next year’s organization will look like. We are ready to share some preliminary staffing with you, which brings some changes:

  • Sra. Julia Wolf will be moving to kindergarten
  • Srta. Kelsie London will be moving to grade 1
  • Sra. Paisley Newburn will be moving to grade 2/3
  • Srta. Jennifer Kelsey will be our Music Specialist
  • Srta. Paula Herrera will return from HUB to grade 2/3
  • Srta. Monica Zarco will return from maternity leave to grade 4/5

All other teaching staff will remain with us at Eugene Coste. We look forward to welcoming back Sra. Elena Castro, Sr. Andrew Traxel, Sra. Magda Salamanca, Sra. Lais Rumel, Srta. Jordan Van Eerden, Sr. Boris Reyes, Sra. Jodi Schmidt, Sr. Andy Gossen and Srta. Micah Plomp who will remain on temporary contract until late March 2022 (Sra. Jordan Irwin).

Plans are already underway to formalize preparations for the year to come. As we have done in prior years, your child's teacher will call you personally at the end of August to welcome you back to school.

I would like to sincerely wish you all a wonderful summer and I do look forward to seeing you again in September!

Saludos,

Sra. Riquelme and Sra. Jackie

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Jun 14
Friday, June 11, 2021

Estimadas familias, 

Today we welcomed back a crew of students from another round of quarantine and at-home learning. We are very appreciative of each family's patience and flexibility as we work to ensure quality learning continues whether students are at home or in the classroom. We know that we do best when we are together and we celebrate when our community is back in the building. 

Our work with our Artist in Residence ended this week. By no means does it mean that the artistic process has been completed, simply that the instructional time with Ewa has ended. Teachers and students have learned many new techniques and have stretched their comfort level in drawing from observation, researching from nature and working with watercolours or fabric. On the next pages we have collected many photos of the learning process. I hope that these bring you joy knowing that your learner has participated in an exemplary learning opportunity.

Duckwatch 2021 has been a very exciting experience for our staff and students. This week, Felipa's 9 eggs hatched. The students in Srta. Kelsie's class predicted that the eggs would hatch on or after June 9th. It just so happens that we noticed a lot of activity on our livestream and yes, 9 little ducklings appeared on our screens on June 9. It surprised many of us to see that mom and babies jumped out of the planter box later in the day to march around the courtyard. There were some tense moments when Felipa realized that her babies could not enter the planter box as it was too high. Sra. Jackie and I tried to provide a ramp but Felipa used her instincts and found a safe place within the courtyard to rest. When we returned to school on June 10, Felipa and her ducklings had disappeared. We trust that she found another safe place to continue raising her young and feel fortunate that she deemed our courtyard a very safe location to lay her eggs and welcome her ducklings to the world. ​

Saludos,

​Sra. Riquelme and Sra. Jackie



Jun 03
Wednesday, June 2, 2021

2021 Estimadas familias,


I can imagine that many of you are deeply impacted by the news of the 215 children’s remains at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. I join you in this grief and questioning of what we can do as a nation to repair the damage that has been caused by the years of intergenerational trauma inflicted on our Indigenous community. When major reckonings like this occur, we may feel compelled to connect with one another to ask questions or to simply share and acknowledge one another’s feelings. We may also turn inwards and reflect on our own experiences and what we felt we knew we understood about our collective history.

In my case, the work of the initial phase of the Truth and 
Reconciliation Comission,

pic.pngwhich concluded in 2015, has permeated my work as a teacher and leader. During that time, I felt the call to speak with my students about the history of residential schools, leaning on storybooks such as “Shi-shi-etko" by Nicola Campbell to guide my conversations with students. I looked upon that story as one of hope, as it shared how one little girl gained knowledge and memories from her family before going away to school. As a teacher, I attempted to explore with my grade 4 students the multiple perspectives of Alberta's history and how what was formally presented in text and media may only reflect the experiences of one group, often the dominant one. My goal was to approach history through a critical and thoughtful lens, building awareness along the way.​

mark.pngIt is with this lens that I had a sad realization on one of my drives to school this week. Some of you may know that I live in a rural area SW of Calgary. On my many drives or bike rides around the countryside I have seen cute roadside markers, such as the one shown in the adjacent photo, marking the place where a one-room schoolhouse existed. These buildings were constructed to provide education to children living within a walkable (or rideable) distance to the school. Siblings and neighbours would come together for a day of learning and then return home. It struck me that at the same time in our history, Indigenous children were forcibly removed from their homes to unlearn their culture in imposing buildings far away from their homes and families. It took the uncovering of the awful truth over this weekend to make that connection.

As Murray Sinclair, Chair of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada stated, “Education is how we will heal, teaching our children that we are all equal is how we will stop racism and bring about reconciliation."

Over the coming days and weeks as we move closer to the end of the school year, we will formally identify a call to action as a school. We will lean on the voices of our students, staff and families in order to continue the work of reconciliation and healing. Resources have been shared with our school to guide teachers in conversations with their students. We will share more of this in the days to come.

Planning for Next Year: During our professional learning day last Friday, we spent time as a staff creating next year's class lists. We strive for balance in terms of dynamics and learning needs. To help us create lists that are as accurate as possible, please let our office know.

Feedback Updates: School Development Plan and Budget & Fees: Families, thank you for taking the time to provide valuable feedback on multiple school process over the last few months. Presentations and your feedback are now posted on our website for you to review. Please know that what you share with us matters and contributes to planning and decision making. If you have any questions or would like to chat, please do not hesitate to reach out. 

School Development Plan: https://school.cbe.ab.ca/school/eugenecoste/get- involved/community-engagement/pages/dev-plan-engagement.aspx

School Budget & Fees: https://school.cbe.ab.ca/school/eugenecoste/get- involved/community-engagement/pages/budget-engagement.aspx

High School Engagement: The High School Proposed Plan is currently open for feedback from June 1 – June 13 through online surveys and idea boards. The proposed plan was informed by feedback gathered over the last two years along with CBE planning principles, available space and resources and financial stability. The final decision will be communicated by June 30, 2021, for implementation in September 2022. The plan does impact our Spanish Bilingual Program, by centralizing it at Crescent Heights High School. cbe.ab.ca/highschoolengagement

Child and Youth Well-being Review: Families and children are invited to complete a survey developed by the Province that is looking to uncover how the pandemic has impacted child and youth well-being. You can visit the following website for more information and to access this optional survey:

https://www.alberta.ca/child-and-youth-well-being-review.aspx



May 27
Wednesday, May 26, 2021

​Estimadas familias, 

All of our staff were so pleased to welcome your children back to the classroom this week! I made sure to visit each class on Tuesday morning to personally say “bienvenidos" and to let the students know that we missed them so much! A quiet and empty school feels ok when summer is starting, but in not in May. Fingers and toes are all crossed for a smooth finish to the year. Being together in the same space has already created amazing learning opportunities which you may have heard about at home. From our virtual Artist in Residence to our new “duck in residence", there is a lot of activity at school!

We have received some very welcome news from our technology team. As you may recall, our school received loaner Chromebooks to supplement our inventory in order to help families connect, during periods of at-home learning. We now learned that we are able to keep our loaner devices! Over 4,000 Chromebooks were deployed temporarily to schools as part of the CBE's Pandemic Response to support ongoing at-home learning. As funding was made possible through specific Pandemic Response allocations, the decision has been made to leave the Chromebooks as currently deployed within the school. We will work to integrate these into our existing inventory and distribute them to where they are most needed: in classrooms.

SDP Engagement: Earlier this week (well, yesterday), you received an invitation to our School Council and Enrichment Society meetings. During the council portion of the meeting, I will be walking parents through our School Development Plan process. Your engagement and feedback contributes to ongoing student success and learning progress. This year, we have focused our efforts on bilingual literacy, with a particular emphasis on reading as well as social/emotional well-being for learning. I truly want to know if you are able to see your child benefitting from these areas of focus and if you can see their progress as learners being reflected within our goals. 

Planning for Next Year: During our professional learning day last Friday, we spent time as a staff creating next year's class lists. We strive for balance in terms of dynamics and learning needs. To help us create lists that are as accurate as possible, please let our office know immediately if your plans have changed and you are no longer planning to return to Eugene Coste.

Again, we are absolutely thrilled to have our classrooms filled with students once again.

Saludos,

​Sra. Riquelme and Sra. Jackie


May 13
May 13, 2021

Estimadas familias,

Hopefully by now most of the dust has settled and families have figured out a routine that works for you and your child/ren as we continue to engage in at-home learning.  I am very much looking forward to our anticipated return to learning together at school on May 25. While daily case rates seem to be trending downward, hospitalizations are increasing. The Calgary Board of Education works closely with the Province and Alberta Health Services to strategically plan for our re-entry to schools in order to reduce risk and protect the health of students and staff. 

While learning at home, I know that many of you face challenges with regards to helping your child/ren manage time, remain motivated and to complete tasks. I'd like to share some ideas with you to help you work alongside your learner(s):

  • Create a realistic, daily routine. Use pre-scheduled meet times as an anchor and work around those times. We really want to ensure that students check in with teachers during scheduled meets and the rest of the day is yours to organize in a way that suits your family. Attendance is taken during meets.Riquelme Schedule.png
  • Write the routine on a piece of paper/ white board and keep it visible. Here's my “routine":

  • If your reality at home means that tasks can only be worked on in the evening, that is ok. Try your best to keep an up-to-date as possible.
     
  • Take advantage of open drop-in times, e-mail your teacher if you need support understanding an instruction or need help with an assignment. Your teacher has your back!

If you require a laptop to support at-home learning, please contact our office directly and we will set a device aside for you.

A special project finally took shape in our hallways this week. This wall wrap is a lasting reminder of one of our students who sadly passed away on November 13, 2017 after a courageous journey living with a rare bone cancer diagnosis. The Thea Roelofsen Legacy Award is given to a student who embodies some of the “Superpowers" that made Thea so special. Students who receive the reward will have their names engraved on a plaque that will eventually be mounted on the wall. Sra. Jackie and I were lucky enough to be the first staff members to view the finished design.


Wall 1.pngWall 2.png


Stay well and please reach out if you need help or support while learning at home.

Saludos,

 

Sra. Riquelme and Sra. Jackie




May 12
Friday, May 7, 2021 (special edition)

Estimadas familias 

  

I, like many of you on Tuesday night, made sure to tune into Premier Jason Kenney’s press conference regarding updated public health measures to combat increasing levels of COVID-19 transmission in our community. Over the past few weeks, this urgency became more apparent within our building as we were required to transition 3 separate classrooms to at-home learning within a 2 week period. The ripple effect impacted our in-school daycare, guest teachers, support staff and of course our own students and classroom teachers. So it came as no surprise that increased health measures included a province-wide transition to at-home learning which started today. By now, all of our teachers have offered their first Google meet and have provided activities that could be worked on independently today. All teachers will be sharing more detailed learning plans for the week to come before Monday morning. Please do not hesitate to reach out to your child’s teacher and Sra. Jackie or myself if you have any questions or challenges related to this transition.  

 

If you require a laptop to support at-home learning, please contact our office directly and we will set a device aside for you. As luck would have it, our recently purchased Chromebooks, the same ones that had been generously provided to us by our Enrichment Society in combination with system funding, arrived this week. We were able to immediately share this resource with our families so that learning could proceed with less interruption at home.  

 

Sending our community home to learn was my least favourite part of the week. I cannot wait to welcome your children back to our building so that we can continue our work in each others company. I am hopeful that the intention to re-open schools to in-person learning will proceed as planned on May 25. In the meantime, please encourage your child to remain engaged with their teacher and learning plan. Reach out if you have questions or are unsure about a task that has been assigned. Our staff want nothing more but to see each and every student succeed. Together, we can make sure that our learners come out of this experience more resilient, flexible and prepared to handle obstacles that inevitably come our way. 

 

I am calling this newsletter a “Special Edition” as it contains many pages of student work for you to enjoy. Our classes were doing phenomenal work together leading up to this transition. I hope you enjoy the photo tour across many of our classrooms and can continue to appreciate what makes Escuela Eugene Coste such an amazing community. 


 

Saludos, 

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 ​

Sra. Riquelme and Sra. Jackie 

(we did not plan to twin by the way… it just happened that way!)

 ​




Apr 29
Wednesday, April 29, 2021

Estimadas familias,

 

We love good news!: We are incredibly excited to announce that Escuela Eugene Coste has been awarded 1 of 3 spots for the “Let's Create an Opera" residency with Calgary Opera for the 2021-22 School Year. Our multi-talented Kindergarten and Music teacher Sra. Paisley along with our Acting Assistant Principal Sra. Jackie put together a very thorough application to the program. We will embark on a collaborative project to plan, write and perform in our own musical story. As participants in this program, our teachers and students will work alongside a professional playwright, composer and stage director for a truly authentic, real-world learning experience. One of the reasons we were awarded this opportunity is because we are a Spanish Bilingual program! I have always felt that the fine arts and language learning are great partners and this opportunity will allow us to apply our bilingual language skills in a very meaningful and purposeful way. At this time we are not able to determine whether or not this experience will be virtual, in-person or a combination of both! Stay tuned for further updates. 

Opera.png

You can also check out https://calgaryopera.com/lets-create-an-opera to view past projects and learn more about the program. 

COVID-19 Update: We had an unusually busy week (and weekend) of notifications being shared with our community. As of this writing, we have two classrooms of students and several staff members in isolation at home. We are very thankful for your patience and understanding while we work through the immediate communication needs and temporary shifts to online learning. Understandably, these events can trigger a range of emotions and create feelings of stress or worry. Many of us desire a sense of certainty and it can be unsettling when that changes. When a member of our community advises us of a positive test result, it triggers an investigation and communication protocol that is managed by the school Principal, the CBE Covid Team and Alberta Health Services. In a nutshell, this is what happens:

  • School is notified of a positive case
  • Principal confirms details of case and shares with CBE Covid Team
  • If case is contagious while at school:
    • all close contacts are notified and required to quarantine
    • a formal letter is shared with the school community
  • If a case is deemed not contagious while at school, there is no further communication with the community and the individual is required to quarantine

Students have remained in cohorts (their homeroom) for this year which has impacted recess and lunch schedules, eliminated the mixing of classrooms and has limited movement around the school. These measures have been taken in order to reduce the number of close contacts associated with each individual. Even with such measures in place, we cannot prevent all risk. We are so pleased to continue to engage in learning alongside your children. We will continue to do what we can to keep us all safe and focused on learning. 

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Sexual Health: Students in grades 4 & 5 s will soon embark on a seasonal “right of passage", the much anticipated (or dreaded) lessons about Sexual Health. Due to the emergency closure of schools last spring, this content was not provided to students that are currently in grade 5. Best practices deem it appropriate that we provide the grade 4 content (focusing on puberty changes) to the grade 4 and 5 students together. We will then extend the instruction for grade 5 students (basic human reproduction) separately. All families have already received the option to opt out of this programming through a letter that was sent home several weeks ago. If you have questions about your child's participation in this program, please discuss this with your child's teacher. All parents are invited to preview the following approved resource: https://teachingsexualhealth.ca/ so that you can understand the content that will be taught in class. We encourage you to discuss what has been learned at home so that these important conversations can be normalized as much as possible.

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School Budget & Fees: Our survey closes on Friday April 30th! This is your final call to provide input on our School Budget & Fees. Please visit our website for more information and for a link to the survey. Your feedback helps us plan for next year and also helps you to understand how money is directed towards students and the learning environment. Survey results will be posted on our website on May 30, 2021.

https://school.cbe.ab.ca/school/EugeneCoste/about-us/news-centre/_layouts/15/ci/post.aspx?oaid=76e8ea4b-9ed1-4b21-8bfe-e344a4e36e9d&oact=20001

​ 

Saludos,

​Sra. Riquelme

Apr 22
Wednesday, April 21, 2021


Our Spanish Immersion Weeks are drawing to a close! The intensive work students and teachers engaged in was inspiring and rigorous. Using the school-wide provocations of “Soy un lector" and “Artistas Hispanos", our learners explored their identity and behavior as readers, the works of artists such as Joan Miró and Pablo Picasso, the poetry of Gloria Fuertes among others. It was such a treat to view teacher's Instagram posts about their activites and of course, visit classrooms and view bulletin boards that are filling with products of learning. 

Pic 1.png

Teachers engaged in a range of strategies to encourage student participation; the floor tape you see above marked the threshold between the classroom and the hallway. Motivational “pesos" that could be earned and applied to a classroom reward also encouraged students to try their best and hablar en español lo más posible. Thank you for believing in our Spanish Bilingual program and always encouraging your child/ren to persevere in their language development. Remember, Friday is a Día Festivo and we are encouraging students to come to school dressed as their favourite book character or something related to their favourite book. April 23 is World Book Day/ El día del libro so let's celebrate it together!

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Today we also celebrated Administrative Professional's Day. Please join us in thanking Sylvia and Yuri for being the backbone of our school. Their work to help us support the flow of information and other administrative pieces that come along with managing a school is priceless. We are so lucky to have them!

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​School Budget & Fees: Attached to this newsletter and available on our website is our School Budget & Fees parent engagement and presentation that provides you with additional background information about how our school is funded and most importantly, what we plan to do with that funding next year. I will be speaking to the presentation at tomorrow's Parent Council meeting. We would greatly appreciate if you can take the time to review the presentation and complete the survey. Your feedback helps us plan for next year and also helps you to understand how money is directed towards students and the learning environment.

Saludos,

Sra. Riquelme​

Apr 16
Wednesday, April 14, 2021

​Our Spanish Immersion Weeks continue! It is amazing to hear and see the excellent work occurring in each classroom. Whenever I encounter students in the hallway, it is gratifying to speak with them en español spontaneously about their day or about where they are headed- usually it is el baño. We have one more week to go, culminating in next week's Día Festivo on Friday April 23. Please remember to plan for your child/ren to dress as their favourite book character or something related to their favourite book. This ties into our focused work around Soy un lector/ I am a reader!

School Budget & Fees: Available on our website is our School Budget & Fees parent engagement and presentation that provides you with additional background information about how our school is funded and most importantly, what we plan to do with that funding next year. I will be speaking to the presentation at next week's Parent Council meeting. We would greatly appreciate if you can take the time to review the presentation and complete the survey. Your feedback helps us plan for next year and also helps you to understand how money is directed towards students and the learning environment.

Draft Curriculum Feedback: After careful consideration, the CBE has taken a formal stand by publicly stating that we will not be piloting the Draft Curriculum. Our organization will create focus groups to gather feedback which will then be shared back to Alberta Education. As citizens of our Province, we all have the right and responsibility to provide feedback on issues that impact us. Please share your feedback (both good and not so good) on the draft curriculum feedback page:  https://www.alberta.ca/curriculum-have-your-say.aspx You are able to provide multiple responses so that you can focus in on specific areas of the curriculum. Make sure your voice is heard by participating in this engagement!

Alberta Education Assurance Survey:   Each year Alberta Education sends an important survey to all parents and legal guardians of students in Grades 4, 7 and 10. Due to our population size, all students and families in grades 4 & 5 are being asked to complete the survey. Next week, Sra. Jackie and I will support students to complete their surveys during class time.

Completing the survey online is the quickest way for Alberta Education to receive a completed response. This year has been different. COVID-19 has meant new challenges. That is why it is more important than ever to hear from you. Your voice will help shape the future of education in Alberta. Please complete the survey by April 23, 2021.

​Saludos,

Sra. Riquelme

 

 



Apr 08
Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Welcome back to Escuela Eugene Coste! As always, Spring Break is a short respite from the routine of school and often coincides with the Easter Holiday which can be a busy time for many families (pre-Covid). I realize that not all families are able to take time away from work in order to spend time with their children during extended breaks from school. In my case, my sons attend school in a different school division and are currently at home alone as we speak! I hope that no matter your schedule you were able to have some increased time as a family over Spring Break and were able to enjoy the (mostly) spring-like weather.

Schools Remain Open: I, like many of you, took some time yesterday afternoon to listen to the Provincial announcements regarding a return to increased restrictions in the community in order to address the increasing number of Covid-19 cases in our community. The return to step 1 (no more indoor dining, no more indoor group fitness, restrictions on retail capacity, restrictions on adult sport and performance, etc) impacts many of our families. I understand that for some, this is not enough and for others, these restrictions are too much. My focus for listening to the press conference was around implications for our schools. At present, all schools will remain open and it is of continued importance that we adhere to our health protocols around masking, hand hygiene, cohort integrity and distancing as much as possible. Updated information around public health measures can be found here: https://www.alberta.ca/enhanced-public-health-measures.aspx

Draft Curriculum Feedback: Over the break, Alberta Education released its draft updated Curriculum. Like so much these days, the document stimulated a range of responses in our community. As of this writing, I have not received direction around the CBE's position on the draft document. As citizens of our Province, we all have the right and responsibility to provide feedback on issues that impact us. Please share your feedback (both good and not so good) on the draft curriculum feedback page: https://www.alberta.ca/curriculum-have-your-say.aspxYou are able to provide multiple responses so that you can focus in on specific areas of the curriculum. Make sure your voice is heard by participating in this engagement!


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School Budget & Fees: We know we make better decisions to support student learning when we build understanding and work together. That's why each year we share our school budget and fees information with you and ask you to share your perspectives with us by completing a short online survey. Schools will be receiving specific budget information tomorrow. Next week, Eugene Coste-specific budget information and a survey will be released to families. Your feedback on priorities is an important data point for our financial planning.​




Alberta Education Assurance Survey: Each year Alberta Education sends an important survey to all parents and legal guardians of students in Grades 4, 7 and 10. In schools with fewer than 120 students, surveys are sent to parents/legal guardians of all students. The 2020-21 school year is the first year of the Alberta Education Assurance (AEA) survey, which replaces the former Accountability Pillar (AP) survey. This year's survey will be available for parents/legal guardians March 25 to April 23, 2021.

Families will receive survey packages mailed from Alberta Education. The survey package includes: 

  • ​a copy of the Education Minister's letter to parents;
  • a letter containing a Random Access Code (RAC) for accessing the survey online; and
  • instructions for accessing the survey in other languages.

Completing the survey online is the quickest way for Alberta Education to receive a completed response. This year has been different. COVID-19 has meant new challenges. That is why it is more important than ever to hear from you. Your voice will help shape the future of education in Alberta. Please complete the survey by April 23, 2021.

Spanish Immersion Weeks Begin: Spanish Immersion Weeks started off with a hint of magic yesterday afternoon. Sr. Jackie and I visited each classroom and provided teachers with a magic “potion" of water and beverage-grade dry ice that incredibly, made them unable to speak English. Student reactions were a highlight of our day! As a full day in Spanish is an extra cognitive load, you may find your child feeling more tired at the end of the day. This is an expected response and something we have seen during previous immersion experiences. Immersion Weeks are excellent, intensive opportunities to build students' oral language competence and to solidify language that they have learned.

Our focus as a school during this time is on the idea of reading identity" I am a reader"/ “Soy un lector" and a study of Hispanic artists “Artistas Hispanos". I took some time today to ask students how their first day of Spanish immersion went: “¿Qué tal tu primer día de sólo español?" One of my favourite comments from a grade 2 friend was that he observed that his teacher wasn't actually speaking Spanish the entire time. “How so?/ ¿Y cómo sabes eso?", I asked. He replied that it was because his teacher was saying his name in English! Thank you for making me laugh today friend

Saludos,

Sra. Riquelme


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