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The City Journals

Sharing the world of food at Kearns-Saint Ann Catholic School’s fair

May 18, 2018 09:42AM ● By Jessica Ivins

Jules Flesher and son Jean playing Basque music at the Cultural Fair at Kearns-Saint Ann Catholic School. (Jessica Ivins/ City Journals)

By Jessica Ivins | [email protected]

Kearns-Saint Ann Catholic School celebrated their fourth annual Cultural Fair on May 11 at 430 E. 2100 South in Salt Lake City.

“The Cultural Fair is not a money-making night, it is about bringing people together and sharing food,” said Shirley Redle, principal at Kearns-Saint Ann Catholic School. That meant sampling such cuisines as Croatian, Mexican, African, Basque, Italian, and Mescalero Apache to listening to Basque music to watching Irish dances. It costs visitors a few dollars to purchase the food. This is only to offset the costs for the students, parents, and volunteers. 

KSA was originally started by Senator Thomas Kearns and his wife when they saw that an orphanage was needed in the 1890s. It slowly became a grade school beginning in 1955. Today, the school serves preschool thru eighth grade. 

Redle previously taught third grade at the school for 24 years. She explained that the faculty and teachers all taught about many cultures and would send home notes for the parents asking if the students could try different foods. The school decided to use their own resources with the diverse population and to hold its first Cultural Fair in 2014.

That was a success. Current students had the opportunity to share their culture’s food, talents, and crafts. Past students returned to their old school to reminisce. Redle said, “I just get the goosebumps remembering the phone calls from people that called and shared that they had a good time sharing their food and trying new things.”

The Home and School Association helped plan the fair. They even provided delicious Italian water ice for a fun-size price. Community volunteers shared their talents of homemade religious jewelry, painting rocks or nail art.

Catherine Barajas, aunt of sixth-grader Dominika Jean, volunteered to share Basque food. “The biggest misconception people have about us is that we are the Bass people,” Jean said of the European region that straddles the Spainish-French border. “We aren’t the Bass people, we are the Basque people.” She sold Basque chorizo on a bun, traditionally without any condiments on it and rice pudding. 

In preparation for the cultural fair all school grades worked on assignments. Pre-kindergarten participated in a “we love the world” assignment. The fourth grade prepared a large map and surveyed the school, “Where are you from?” The pin-pointed map was on display. The fifth grade prepared reports and displayed them at the fair.

Isabella, a fifth grader, shared her great grandmother’s Italian meatball recipe. “It was shared to my father in a text. My uncle has the original one. My dad tried to make it once and it was delicious. A little spicy,” wrote Isabella. 

KSA’s “philosophy promotes academic excellence and Catholic values within a diverse, disciplined environment. We believe in education each student as a whole person, intellectually, socially, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, through the practice of service, compassion, love, and respect,” as stated on their website

“Different cultures getting together and sharing their food is the best part. It doesn’t matter how different we are, or what kind of food we eat, or what color we are…We are all one and all respectful,” said Redle.

KSA will be getting a new principal for the 2018-2019 school year. “It will be up to the new principal to decide if they will keep up the tradition of the Cultural Fair,” said Redle.