School celebrates world cultures with International Day
Appleton — Dozens of countries from Brazil to Thailand were represented at Appleton Village School's International Day Monday, May 19.
As part of their social studies work, students had done a variety of projects on foreign countries, which were available for visitors to view. In addition, there were talks by community members who were born abroad, and by foreign exchange students at Camden Hills Regional High School. The highlight of the event were food samples from different lands for everyone to try.
Linda Blackler, first- and second-grade literacy teacher, said each year she does a unit on the Amazon rainforest of Brazil. Her students had decorated their classroom with cutouts of monkeys and branches hanging from netting on the ceiling that looked like a forest canopy. They also made a colorful construction paper mural on the bulletin board outside the room with flowers and animals of the rainforest. Visitors could read poems about Amazonian animals and learn Brazilian dances, including one that looked a little like square-dancing, called the quadrilha.
In another room, eighth-grade students had made displays about different countries with information on climate, geography, culture, food, fun facts and basic phrases, which they decorated with pictures. Nele, a German exchange student at Camden Hills, talked about what school was like in her home country, as well as pets and her music lessons on saxophone and piano. She said that, although she is a senior here, she will not receive any credits for her studies in the United States, and will be in her junior year of high school at home next year.
Appleton parent Patrick Costigan, a native of Ireland, spoke about his home country, telling students its most popular sport is rugby and passing around some Irish paper money and coins. Ireland and Maine are about the same size, geographically, he said. He was joined by two Chinese exchange students from Camden Hills. Other parents, community members and exchange students spoke about their native countries, as well.
There was also a room where children and visitors could play games based on Maine culture. There was a version of checkers where one player would ask the other a question about Maine's Native Americans, and the other had to answer it correctly in order to make a move. There were also games about maple sugaring and Maine's role in the Underground Railroad during the Civil War.
Sarah E. Reynolds is copy editor for the Courier Gazette and Camden Herald.
Sarah E. Reynolds has been a reporter and writer for more than 20 years, winning awards from the Maine Press Association and other professional organizations. She loves to read, ride her ATV and play word games.