Grant Elementary hosts Celebration of Cultures

SCHOOLS: GRANT ELEMENTARY

By MARGAUX HENQUINET

neighborhoods@ColumbiaMissourian.com

**Editor’s note: Due to weather conditions, Grant Elementary was closed on Feb. 25 and the event was canceled.

On Friday, Feb. 25, Grant Elementary School will host its annual Celebration of Cultures.

The event will feature between eight and 10 volunteers representing countries including France, Georgia, Hungary, India, Puerto Rico, Scotland, Ukraine and Vietnam.  Presenters will bring examples of food, clothing or other artifacts from their respective cultures.

The students can walk by presenters’ tables to talk to them and learn about their cultures. Some venture to try new foods that they have not eaten before.

Students who attend the fair receive bookmarks as souvenirs. They can take the bookmarks to presenters and ask to have their names written on them in a foreign language.

One of the goals of the event is to give students knowledge of different cultures in hopes of making international students feel more comfortable, ELL teacher Peg Hurley said. Students from different heritages are proud to see their cultures represented.

“It shows an acceptance of them and their culture, and that’s important,” Hurley said.

The celebration is sponsored by the Grant Multicultural Committee, a group made up of six to eight of the school’s teachers. Hurley, who chairs the committee, said one teacher had students volunteer to serve water to the presenters; other teachers made signs so the presenters would know where to set up their displays or made the students’ bookmarks.

“It took many people to get it all together,” Hurley said.

Most of the presenters are parents of students who attend Grant, with one or two countries represented by MU students. An invitation to participate is sent to everyone in the school, and 10 to 12 families usually volunteer to present.

Hurley said the presenters enjoy participating in the festivities. The family that represented Ukraine plans to return and present again this year, she said, even though their daughter now goes to Smithton Middle School.

Hurley said teachers know ahead of time which countries will be represented, so some may talk about the cultures in advance or plan a discussion after their classes attend the celebration.

Everyone at Grant looks forward to the annual event, Hurley said, and some have suggested extending it to run for the whole day, not just the morning.

“Everyone always says that it should last longer,” she said, “but we have to stop for lunch.”

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