GREENVILLE, WI -- Hundreds of students at Greenville Elementary took part in celebrating the different cultures around the world. The third and fourth grade classrooms chose a country and those students taught the younger classes the traditional foods, crafts, folk tales, etc.
From Irish dancers and accordion players, to chopstick instruction and of course limunada, "It's Egyptian lemonade," countries around the world were represented at Greenville Elementary. Spanish teacher Erin Calvin says, "I think kids are at a perfect age to learn that even though it might seem like people have differences we have a lot in common. We can all learn from one another. "
Students from kindergarten through second grade made their way through the classrooms as their older peers taught them all about the different cultures. "It's fun to teach other kids about it," exclaims fourth grader Haylee Dickman.
The students practiced other languages, played unique games and created crafts, all traditional to the different countries. Haylee says this is great because, "Then you know how other people live and what they're going through."
That's exactly what was missing when senior Maria Rivera made her way to the US, "It was hard for me because I had to interact with other students and I didn't know how to." It wasn't until 3rd grade that her family moved from Central Mexico to what she now calls home, "I just wanted to stay within my culture. I didn't want to go within other cultures because I thought I didn't belong."
Maria didn't have the luxury of this program, but says over time she's adapted to certain US traditions, "Since we're here now we just celebrate Santa the way they do. Christmas usually in Mexico, they bring you your gifts." Maria has even gotten some of her friends to celebrate Traditions straight from Mexico, "For New Years we all gather and do the 12 Grapes."
Now Maria takes part in teaching the kids some fun ways to break down cultural barriers despite cultural differences, "Everyone can be around together. We can unite. We can all work together."