IES celebrates diversity and culture

Ivonne Hernandez teaches IES students about some of the important figures and contributions Mexico has made to the world today. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)

Ivonne Hernandez teaches IES students about some of the important figures and contributions Mexico has made to the world today. (Reporter Photo / Molly Davidson)

By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

NORTH SHELBY—Inverness Elementary School students took a trip around the world without leaving the school on May 6 and 7. Parents in the school’s LEAPS program stopped by to teach students about just a few of the countries and cultures represented at IES during the annual Family Culture Week.

The theme of Family Culture Week this year is “I think I can,” LEAPS instructor Caroline Dempsey said. The IES entryway displays the phrase “I think I can” translated into 14 languages, representing the school’s vast cultural diversity, Dempsey explained.

Throughout the week, children worked in their classrooms to imagine their dream jobs and what they can achieve.

“It’s a school-wide effort,” IES ELL teacher Kiffany Rueda said. “All of the kids got to think of what their dream jobs are.”

On May 6, students learned about China, Mexico, Japan and Poland, and the important contributions each country has made to the world today. During the presentation about Mexico, children learned about Guillermo Camarena, the Mexican inventor who patented the color television when he was only 25-years-old.

“We want to open their minds to the different cultures and how they benefit our world,” Rueda said. “We’re instilling the belief in each child in our school that they can achieve anything they put their minds to.”

Family Culture Week is not just a learning experience for the students, it also helps introduce parents in the LEAPS program to the American school system and involve them in the IES community, Rueda explained.

“Getting them involved in the school is really important to us,” Rueda said. “It’s a community, it’s a partnership between the parents and the school.”

The presentations were a culmination of several weeks of work in the LEAPS program, which helps parents who are learning English as a second language.

“We are thankful to the school because we have the opportunity to show our kids about our country,” LEAPS student and Shelby County Schools parent Ivonne Hernandez said. “It’s important to learn about Mexico today.”