Students celebrate heritage at annual Bread Festival
Published 2:37 pm Monday, November 2, 2015
By JESSA PEASE / Staff Writer
PELHAM— Flags hanging above each classroom door at Valley Intermediate School Oct. 29 colorfully illustrated the different countries represented by each room along the hall.
Some rooms contained Japanese lanterns and others contained traditional Cambodian dress, but each of the rooms offered a sample of the country’s traditional bread.
Each year, Valley Intermediate School participates in a Bread Festival, celebrating different cultures and heritages.
“Our population in Pelham is so diverse, we wanted to celebrate the diversity that we have not only in our community but in our school,” said the festival coordinator and fifth grade teacher Christy Downing. “As each different culture does, we all break bread together. That’s something that we all have in common, so we wanted to celebrate that.”
Each classroom chooses a country to learn about. Downing said the students become experts, researching anything from the culture to traditional dress to holidays.
Each classroom is decorated differently, and the students get to focus on any topic they find most interesting about the country.
“It just depends on what the students want to focus on,” Downing said. “Mine were very interested in the dress as well as the food, but each classroom will have some food that visitors can come and try.”
Xavier Glaze’s mother is from Cambodia, which is Downing’s country for the festival. Glaze said he enjoyed learning about the country his mother grew up in and sharing it with his classmates.
“It’s kind of cool because I’ll get to tell other people about my country and my mom’s country, and see how they learn and feel about it,” he said. “Once I do this, I think it will probably make it easier to talk to them because they will understand how I think, and we can cooperate better.”
Glaze’s family joined him during the bread festival and together they taught visitors how to count to 10 in Cambodian.
As the classrooms rotated from room to room, the students learned about many cultures and countries, taking notes during the presentations. Downing said the annual Bread Festival is a fun day for all involved.
“The kids absolutely love it,” she said. “It is one of their most favorite parts of the year. They were very excited that we were going to do it again this year.”