Students Tour the World With Multicultural Events

Students Tour the World With Multicultural Events
Posted on 02/14/2019
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Multicultural events at Creekside and CherokeeStudents at Cherokee Elementary and Creekside Early Childhood schools went on a world tour recently. Events at both schools were an opportunity to celebrate the different heritages of their students and learn about different cultures.


“The Taste of Cherokee is a popular event among (our) families because it shines a spotlight on our families and celebrates the diversity of our community,” said PTA co-chair Lisa Phair. After a break for a few years, A Taste of Cherokee returned to the school last year. “Visitors come for a multicultural experience which includes food, student art, entertainment and the opportunity to learn about the heritage and nationalities of Cherokee families,” Phair noted.


Families attending A Taste of Cherokee and Art Showcase were able to visit with 19 families from 16 different countries. Visitors could peruse books, music, artifacts and more at each of the booths. Upon entering, each family received a passport to fill with stickers as they visited the different countries. Visitors were also able to tour an art exhibit featuring the works of students.


The Cherokee PTA enlisted art teacher Andrea Menchhofer to help bring this year’s event to life. “(Mrs.) Menchhofer was integral in this year’s Taste,” said Stephanie Patterson, co-chair of the event. “She worked with classes in various grade levels on art work, posters, table settings, flags, etcetera, which was wonderful to give that extra jazz to the school cafeteria.”


Countries represented included Mexico, Italy, Palestine, Brazil, Ireland and more. “This year we were lucky to host a Zumba/Latin Dancing demonstration, an Irish Dancing duo, a traditional Palestinian dance, and a Taekwondo demonstration,” noted Patterson, with Cherokee students performing the Irish and Palestinian dances.


Over at Creekside Early Childhood School, the fourth annual Travel Our World event took a slightly different route this year. Instead of one evening, students visited different countries during each of their specials classes throughout the weeklong event.


Teachers Sarah Kennedy and Gabrielle Harms are the masterminds behind the event. “It’s something we love,” said Harms. “It’s a way for kids to learn and celebrate our world, and diversity in general.”


During morning announcements, different students shared information about their families’ countries. Motoki Tokunga, a second-grader, shared about origami from Japan, bringing in a swan to show to classmates. “It is made out of paper which is really light and can rip easily,” he said. Daman Thind, a fellow second-grader, wore an outfit and jewelry that would be worn to a wedding in India. She enjoyed experiencing Mexico during Wonder Lab, where they made musical instruments.


Students had their passports stamped before entering their daily specials to travel to new countries. They visited China, Kuwait, Vietnam and Jordan in health class, Africa in music and Japan in art, to name a few. Each experience began with a Powerpoint presentation that Harms and Kennedy created for the teachers to introduce the countries, as well as the craft that went along with the lesson. They also included links to further learning.


In China, the students made special hats that are used to block the sun and rain and also learned how to use chopsticks. Elyse Gruber, a first grader, enjoyed learning about Jordan. “We got to write Creekside in Arabic,” she explained. In physical education, students learned to square dance when they visited the United States of America. Elyse described the experience as amazing. “We had partners and did a lot of stuff that was exciting.”


When asked how the students have enjoyed traveling, Harms exclaimed, “Oh my goodness! They’ve had so much fun!” She has enjoyed watching the students’ reactions to each of the different activities. “Some are more hands on. Some are more science-based and some are more art-based,” she explained. “Each kid has a special center made for them.”


A common theme between both schools is the celebration of the diversity of the students. “From a personal aspect,” Patterson said, “cultural events, such as Cherokee's Taste of Cherokee, are near and dear to my heart. I love the opportunity to welcome families with different backgrounds, cultures, and diversity and to share that with others.”