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The City Journals

International Festival offers students cultural traditions, customs

May 25, 2017 02:00PM ● By Kimberly Roach

Peruvian Park volunteer Stacey Kratz teaches festival attendees how to fold origami animals as part of the Region 17 PTA’s Around the World in 80 Minutes cultural event. (Julie Slama/City Journals)

By Julie Slama | [email protected]
A Chinese dragon dance by Corner Canyon students — “The Lonely Goatherd,” sung in French by Oak Hollow students — a traditional Spanish dance by Silver Mesa students, Chinese martial arts demonstrated by Draper Elementary and a chance to sample French crepes made by Hillcrest High French students were some of the cultural activities students and their families could engage in at the regional PTA’s Around the World in 80 Minutes event.
About 20 schools in Sandy, Draper and Midvale participated in the April 17 cultural event at Jordan High that promoted diversity, said Betty Shaw, region 17 PTA director.
“We want students not only to be aware of cultures, but to value them,” she said.  “We’re hoping that they spend at least 80 minutes here learning about other cultures and gaining an appreciation for their ways of life.”
Hillcrest High’s French Club mixed milk, flour and egg together before making crepes.
“We have crepes for a lot of class activities as it’s a traditional French food and fun to make,” teacher Jordan Hulet said. “Many people think French is a dying language. We also wanted to make students aware that French is the second most used language in commerce as well as spoken at the Olympics and FIFA.”
Sophomore Emily Trujillo said that through learning French she has made friends.
“I have made a lot of connections and have met my best friend through learning French,” she said about classmate Emma Greenwood, who was helping her make crepes.
“It’s been fun learning a language outside of English and experiencing another culture,” said Greenwood, who also is a sophomore at Hillcrest High.
Fourth-grader Aziliz Levitre, who sang with Oak Hollow’s French choir, said she appreciated seeing other schools’ performances, which included Indian Hills’ choir, Willow Spring’s orchestra, a song and dance from Edgemont, a dance from Midvale Middle and a Latino dance from Jordan High.
“They were so awesome,” said Aziliz, who is living in the United States after being born in France.
Her sister, Calypso, is a seventh-grader at Draper Park Middle School.
“I liked learning about Mali since it’s such a different culture than here,” she said.
Brookwood Elementary showed how the school held a fundraiser for vaccinations for children in Mali and had items from the village of Ouelessebougou on display.  Sandy Elementary staffed a table about Mexico, Park Lane students shared a display of paper dolls around the world, Peruvian Park volunteers taught origami and East Sandy students showed African artwork. 
Alta High and Indian Hills both offered traditional Mexican and Chinese foods.
Oak Hollow fourth-grader Emilie Dowland said it was fun to sample the foods, but also learn more about France, since she’s learning French.
“It was fun to practice speaking French with others,” she said.
South Elementary PTA Council President Melissa Colton, who helped show a PTA monetary collection from around the world, said the event was successful.
“We had so many schools represented and it was fun for kids to share a part of what they’ve learned with others,” she said. “We were able to involve so many and offer diverse activities.”