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New Horizons

Southwestern Promotes Culture Through Annual Fair

Southwestern Elementary School held its 13th annual Multicultural Fair on Friday. Pictured are students taking part in the event, meant to promote cultures from around the world. P-J photos by Jordan W. Patterson

Thirteen years ago, Southwestern Elementary School looked to promote cultures around the world for its third-grade level. Friday, a new group of students continued the annual Southwestern Multicultural Fair.

Karen Ohl, third grade teacher, said that while the event has grown over the years, the goal has remained the same.

“It definitely raises awareness of their place in the world in addition to how different their living arrangements in North America are compared to that around the world,” Ohl said.

The event was created by district speech pathologist teacher Carol Jablonski, who intended to raise awareness among third grade students.

Friday’s event simultaneously served as the unveiling of the new cafetorium where the fair was being held.

Each student was required to research and write a five- to seven-page essay on a specific country. They also had to create a home project about the country they researched.

Topics students had to research included historical background, society, culture, people, places, geography, government and economy.

Those projects were on display at the Multicultural Fair along with their research from school. A few of the projects included food from a specific country, miniature replicas of significant landmarks and additional information on popular people from each country.

Each class was designated a continent, and then five countries from a particular continent were researched among different students. For example, students researched Indonesia, Japan, India and Myanmar from Asia while others researched Argentina, Brazil, Peru, Chile and Venezuela from South America. In total, 26 countries were represented at Friday’s fair.

In addition to the project, the third graders were treated to guest speakers over the past weeks from different countries around the world. A teacher from Thailand spoke to students via a video call.

Ohl said the project is important to the students because it gives them a better understanding of the world.

“I think it broadens their respect for different nationalities and ethnicities,” Ohl said.

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