By LINDSAY CAREY
The first ever cultural fairs were hosted at both John F. Kennedy Middle School and Joseph A. DePaolo Middle School on Thursday, Feb. 26. The two after-school events offered “A Taste of Culture” for students, parents and faculty in honor of the STEPS February Asset of the month, cultural competence.
According to a flyer for the event, cultural competence provides students with a “knowledge and comfort with people from different cultural, racial and ethnic backgrounds.”
Students were invited to share their family’s culture by bring in food, clothing and music for the event. Participants set up their own booths with information about their heritage, recipes of their food and displayed the flag of the place they were representing.
The sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students at JFK Middle School shared their food from 2:45 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. in the cafeteria. There were treats ranging from Puerto Rican rice and peas to Italian cookies
One student made a French Quiche Lorraine, which is a savory pie made with a rich custard filling with bacon and cheese. Three other students called their booth the “Constitution Café” and served all-American food like hotdogs and pancakes.
Irish heritage was also represented at the Kennedy event with apple cake, shortbread cookies, and Irish cream bundt cake.
The celebration at DePaolo began at 5 p.m. with a musical performance of the Italian National Anthem.
School counselor Steve Nyerick said there were over 30 different countries represented at the DePaolo Middle School Taste of Culture. Not only did middle school students share their culture, adult ESL students were invited to participate as well.
Adult ESL Teacher Peg Donohue asked her students if they would like to participate and received a good response, especially since some of the adult ESL students have children who attend DePaolo. The ESL students that participated in “A Taste of Culture” represented the countries of China, Pakistan, Ukraine, Albania, Kosovo, Peru, Yemen, Columbia, Italy, Peru, Puerto Rico, Egypt and Brazil.
DePaolo Middle School World Language Teacher and Asset Building Communicator Bethany Rosin said that the idea to do a cultural fair originally came from the students, so she wasn’t surprised by the interest from the student body when sign-up flyers went out.
“We live in a global world, and it’s so important to recognize other cultures,” said Rosin. “It’s not just understanding that other cultures exist, but it’s having that competence of what those cultures are like. I think the sharing here is wonderful. We’re getting to experience a lot of different foods, customs, and cultures.”
Photos by LINDSAY CAREY