Bread festival celebrates diversity

Published 1:51 pm Tuesday, October 12, 2010

By JULIE VALENTINE/Guest Columnist

For the last two years, Valley Intermediate School has hosted an International Bread Festival.

The festival was created to celebrate our diverse student population. Valley Intermediate has about 750 students.

Students hail from 20 different countries. A few counties represented include Mexico, Colombia, India, Kenya and Vietnam. With a school community this diverse, it’s important to honor the traditions, foods and cultures of other countries.

As the school prepares for the Bread Festival, teachers and students have important jobs. Each classroom chooses a country to study. Classes choose based on where their students are from. For example: Last year, a third grade teacher had students from Mexico and Laos. Her class chose to research Laos. The class invited a parent to teach them about Laos’ culture, clothing and food.

They also did research in the computer lab. Each child created a Power Point slide with a picture and fact about Laos. The slide show was used during the festival to teach other classes Laos’ culture.

The day of the festival, every classroom is decorated like the country they studied. The classroom also provides the bread of the country they represent.

During the day, classes rotate to other rooms, and learn about other countries. Each child receives a passport to take with them as they “travel” to other countries. As they travel, they taste the bread, listen to the music of a country and write notes about their visit in the passport.

The results of the Bread Festival are amazing! Families feel honored that their country was chosen to study. Many parents contribute decorations, food, clothes and memorabilia.

One mother said, “I’ve never shared about my country before, because I’ve never been asked.” Now she has, and other parents can too.

Come join us on Oct. 21, as we celebrate the beauty of our school diversity!

Julie Valentine is a third grade ESL teacher at Valley Intermediate.