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Parents and staff showcased various cultures and countries represented by the student body. 

PMG PHOTO: MIA RYDER-MARKS - Attendees learned about various countries and cultures that make up the school.On Friday, April 29, the hallways of Palisades World Language School were full of bits and pieces of the diversity that makes up the Lake Oswego School District.

To celebrate and appreciate the variety of cultures found at the elementary school, which is home to the district's language immersion program, the administration and the Palisades Parent-Teacher Association hosted their first annual International Fair.

The evening of appreciation was a way for students and the community to learn more about different cultures through activities, dancing, food and musical performances. PMG PHOTO: MIA RYDER-MARKS - The fair offered interactive activites and art and crafts for children.

"(The fair) is a way for people to appreciate the diversity that exists in our school. People going into the school day in and day out may not realize all the countries we are from," said Ami Joshi, a PTA member. "And (it's) also for people to really take away that this diversity exists in LO and that it is beautiful."

Seventeen booths displayed different cultures and countries ranging from Germany to Indigenous tribes.

Alana Kent displayed various aspects of the Soboba Band of Luiseno Indians, who reside in California's San Jacinto Valley. Visitors to her table could check out educational sheets on foods or animals important to the culture and some artifacts that have been passed down from Kent's ancestors. She said not only is the fair a great way to expose students to various cultures, but it also might break some stereotypes that people have around Indigenous peoples.

"I think (Indigenous culture) can oftentimes be forgotten or not accurately displayed in our history that we teach. So it's important to me to kind of break stereotypes and also represent the fact that Indigenous people are still very present," she said.

Other participants showcased the countries from which their ancestors originated. In the auditorium, the daughter and mother duo of Reina and Priscilla Kelly sat below a blanket of koinobori fish hung from a basketball hoop and taught people about their Japanese culture.

"Her grandmother was from Japan and the culture is such a big part of her life, so I think it just makes her really happy to get to share the things that make her excited about Japan with other people," Priscilla said.

Families and students participated in various activities like dance classes, hand painting, arts and crafts or saying hi to Carlos the Llama. They also enjoyed live music from Dina y Los Rumberos, a Cuban band.

PMG PHOTO: MIA RYDER-MARKS - Students could get their hand painted with different country's symbols. As the music seeped out from the auditorium into the crowded hallway, Jitasen Allen, a parent of a kindergartner at Palisades, taught attendees the Thai alphabet.

"I think this event is important because the kids need to learn about different cultures and it is better for them to learn younger that we are all the same, and not separated by countries," Allen said. "Then they can grow up appreciating and respecting others."


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