Gardner Bullis School families enjoyed food, music and performances that highlighted more than 20 countries at its first Multicultural Fair Jan. 31.
“It is wonderful to welcome the Year of the Horse with our diversified community,” said Andre Chang, parent of a first- and fifth-grader at Gardner Bullis. “Our kids are so fortunate to appreciate many cultures around the world in an event like this and to learn to be a global citizen when they grow up.”
School families arranged booths that displayed facts and photos of the countries that are part of their heritage, including Nepal, Botswana, Spain, New Zealand and the Philippines.
“Here’s one place where you can choose food from Iran, add pickles from Israel to your hummus at the next booth and top it off with Gummy Bears from Germany just a step over,” said Dana Tasic, parent of a first-grader and one of the event organizers.
Students had opportunities to make crafts from different countries and receive “passport” stamps at all 20 booths, qualifying them to enter a raffle for prizes.
Students wore cultural costumes in a fashion show, and attendees could watch performances including an Israeli hora dance, a Russian folk dance and a Chinese/Korean ribbon dance. A group of fourth-grade girls from many different backgrounds practiced after school and on weekends to perfect a Bollywood dance routine.
“The girls brought so much energy and enthusiasm and made the fair very exciting and special,” said Divya Valmiki, who worked with students on their Bollywood dance. “They showed everyone that any culture can be fun if you are open to it.”
The fair enabled students to learn about the cultural backgrounds of their classmates – and share their own.
“This event was a wonderful way to bring the Gardner community together,” Principal Katie Kinnaman said. “Watching students and families share their cultural heritages is one way to break down barriers and encourage us to all think about the unique talents and background each student brings to our school community.”
Megan Crissman, mother of two Gardner Bullis students, said her family had a “wonderful time ‘traveling the world’ – experiencing the huge array of cultures, tasting delicious foods, watching incredible performances and seeing aspects of Gardner families’ lives that we don’t necessarily get to see every day at school.”