Students join in multicultural arts forum Mayo Elementary group, other schools present music, dances, literature

October 23, 1997|By Kristi E. Swartz | Kristi E. Swartz,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

Twelve first-graders from Mayo Elementary School marched onto the Broadneck High School auditorium stage to show off songs they had learned in French, Spanish, Japanese and an African language.

They joined five groups from the community and Annapolis, Broadneck, South River schools to present music, dances and literature from other nations as part of the Third Annual Multicultural Arts Forum.

The evening centered on the African proverb: "It takes a village to raise a child: Unify the village," a theme that celebrated the county's diversity.

County school board President Carlesa Finney said it was important for everyone in a community to be involved with children.

"The proverb describes to me the responsibility we all have to make sure no child gets ignored or left behind, but that they are encouraged," Finney said.

The forum began with an Afro-Cuban Ensemble dance from Windsor Farm Elementary School and was followed by greetings from students in the county's English as a Second Language program.

Other performances included the Broadneck High School ninth-grade chorus and the Annapolis High School dance club. Also featured was a presentation about Native-American history and culture by area resident Herman Hunt, who encouraged the crowd to learn more about Native-Americans by reading and using the Internet.

"I think Maryland is doing a great deal to recognize the kinds of ethnic groups that make up the state," Hunt said. "But we need to know more about those who were on this land before us."

Many Native-Americans, including Shawnee Indians, have returned to the western part of the state, he said. This also has been happening in other states, he said, such as Washington, where they have been welcomed back to land from which they once were driven.

"The Native Americans were doomed in their own homeland," he said.

After the performances, Finney said she thought many of the students acted as if they were the only ones on the stage.

Children often think they should be the center of attention, she said. Adults should treat them that way.

"The more we tend to these children like they are the only ones, that's how they can be encouraged," she said. "All of us are responsible to make sure children are raised in a nation that not only encourages family values but that values families."

Pub Date: 10/23/97

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