Seventh-graders take 'trip' around world Food and folklore featured in program

March 31, 1996|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

Scott Kolodziejski and Cory Gekoski went global Friday.

Scott and Cory were two of about 370 seventh-graders at George Fox Middle School who made African hats, sampled Asian foods and played a Mexican game -- all without leaving their Pasadena school.

The boys were participating in the school's first multicultural festival, an all-day event designed to give students a chance to learn about world cultures.

"It's cool because you get to experience what they experience," Cory, 13, said.

"Now, we know how to eat [the foods]," Scott, 13, said. "We can't be rude when we're eating."

The festival was divided into four phases. The first was a dramatization of folklore and myths from other countries.

The second session was arts and crafts. Some students made Japanese kites, while others tried African sponge painting. Almost all the seventh-graders were bedecked in African hats called kupis and African anklets made of brightly colored yarn.

International foods made up another segment of the fair. Students tasted English shortbread; akwadu, a banana-coconut dish from Ghana; and raita, a vegetable and fruit yogurt from India.

"I didn't like it," said Jennifer Friers, 12.

"I did," said Annmarie Dalsanto, 12. "It was like a milkshake."

The final portion of the festival introduced the children to international games. Students played with a dreidel and took turns wearing a Chinese dragon costume made of a tie-dyed bedsheet and 15 Hula-Hoops.

Enrique Antonio, 13, introduced his classmates to "Lotteria," a Mexican version of bingo with one exception -- instead of numbers, there are pictures.

"This is the best game in Mexico," he said. "People from 5 years old to 50 years old play this."

Ben Dillard tried to teach t'ai chi ch'uan, an ancient form of self-defense from China that his uncle has been teaching him.

"It improves physical fitness, which is something I need," Ben said, patting his belly.

Bonnie Schupp, the school's enrichment teacher, organized the fair for the students, most of whom are studying geography in their social studies classes.

"We thought it would be a good idea to help them learn about other cultures and regions," she said. "I hope they get a better sense of the world community, that there is a bigger place than Pasadena."

Many of the students said they learned to appreciate the differences between cultures. Jessica Lins, 12, said she was happy to have been involved in the festival.

"Say you get a job and you have to learn about other people. You already know," she said. "It's good for future reference."

Pub Date: 3/31/96

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