By Rob Glidden
Third-grade students at Strong Elementary School got an extensive look at Brazilian culture from a classmate and her family.
Third-grader Jasmine Ozimkoski was born and raised in America, but her mother, Alessandra Ozimkoski, was born in Brazil and works at the Brazilian consulate in Hartford.
The family has visited her home country several times and this was their third year leading a presentation for the students.
“It’s a beautiful place,” Jasmine said. “I feel good that I can help everyone learn about it.”
Students had the chance to see Brazilian money and passports, but there was a more lively import from the country available to see – a blue and gold macaw who took turns posing with them.
“It’s so cool,” said third-grader Eva Bilodeau. Her classmate, Olivia Allen added that the presentation was “really awesome.”
The program included a lengthy demonstration of capoeira, a Brazilian sport that combines dance and martial arts. A large amethyst crystal was also very popular among the students.
“I’m glad I got to see that rock,” said third-grader Jackson Rusiecki. “That was my favorite.”
The first time this presentation was held, the family was so delighted by the enthusiastic reactions from the children that they decided to keep bringing it back.
“It’s so much fun,” said Alessandra Ozimkoski. “Everyone thinks Brazil is one big rainforest but there is so much more.”
To illustrate that point, she showed the students a clip from the animated film “Rio” that featured the cartoon birds flying around a highly realistic rendering of Rio de Janeiro and famous landmarks like the Christ the Redeemer statue and Sugarloaf Mountain.
“I really like it,” said third-grader Cara St. John. “It’s cool that she gets to show her culture.”
Teachers said that the presentation tied in one of the developmental assets promoted by the Southington Town-Wide Effort to Promote Success (STEPS) – “cultural competence.”
“It’s good for them to understand differences that exist among cultures,” said third-grade teacher Amber Smith. “It shows that things aren’t always the same as where they live.”
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