Wilsonville schools overflow with cultural celebrations
Wilsonville primary schools experienced a cultural explosion last week in the form of traditional clothing, delectable food and toe-tapping song and dance from countries all over the globe.
Taking over large parts of the Boeckman Creek and Lowrie primaries, students took the chance to share their heritage and culture with classmates in the form of elaborate booths, which included facts about their homeland and food for anyone to try at international fairs Friday, April 28. Students and families dressed in their traditional clothing, representing more than 30 different countries between the two schools.
"I have dictionaries and German books, maps and lists of famous people from my country," said Boeckman Creek fourth-grader Sage Farrell, who represented Germany at his booth. "I'm teaching people how to say different things in German. It's fun to show my friends and teach them about Germany."
The International Night was the third straight for Boeckman and the International Festival was the secondfor Lowrie. Teachers spent the weeks leading up to the night of fun teaching lessons on world cultures and assigning the task of learning about their own heritage from their families at home. Boeckman Creek students were given passports at their International Night, collecting stamps at different booths to display the countries they visited Friday night. Lowrie, meanwhile, enjoyed a multitude of student performances, including mariachi music, Irish dancing, baile folklorico and a taekwondo performance among many more.
The International Festival at Lowrie happens every two years, trading off with the school's auction, and took months of preparation to pull off. From the shaved Hawaiian ice truck next to the playground outside to the countless performances, Jose Guardado said the International Festival is one of his favorite events of the year.
"It's a community event and it's all about bringing together families, teachers, students, community members in the gym, and we're celebrating each other's cultures," said Guardado, a Lowrie parent and International Fair planner. "We have representation from all seven continents and 16 different countries. The smells and the sights in the gym are probably my favorite part. You know you're in for a treat when the International Festival comes around and the food is incredible."
Lowrie's fair included a photo booth, allowing students to preserve the memorable night for years to come, and both schools held raffles with prizes from local businesses. Lowrie also compiled a cookbook with more than 60 family recipes from different students and cultures in the school, which was given to each family as part of the night of fun.
Guardado said as enjoyable as the International Festival is, the overarching goal of the event is for cultural awareness to spread into the schools on a more permanent basis.
"Lowrie is good about this kind of work anyways even if there wasn't an event. Teachers have done things where they have students identify cultural awareness and classrooms have been involved in learning about cultures," he said. "Students are encouraged to start family conversations about their own special traditions, foods and sports their family observes with the intent of bringing everything in the classroom home as a discussion piece at the dinner table."
With another year of international fairs in the books, students said they were already looking forward to next year's celebration.
"It's fun to show everyone about Japan and learn about other countries too," said Boeckman Creek fourth-grader Hiro Hoshino, who represented Japan at Boeckman's international fair. "I like all of the food and handing out Japanese candy to people."