Christopher Burnett | Staff Writer
Twenty-two countries were represented at Unified School District 207’s second annual district-wide International Day March 14 at Patton Junior High School.
Mary Carter, USD 207 secretary, said each of the international displays were produced and operated by volunteers from throughout the community. She said a goal of the event is to serve as a cultural exchange.
“Our classroom teachers have made the event an interactive experience for their students by providing activity guide sheets and passports,” Carter said. “The guide sheets are grade-level appropriate in terms of what students are seeking to learn from the various individual country displays. The passports allow students to collect flag stickers.”
Deputy Superintendent SuAnn Grant said all of the students from each of the USD 207 schools benefit from the cultural exchange aspects of the event. She said it is a valuable experience that provides students opportunity to learn about where many of their classmates come from.
“We have a great group of international students and their family members as volunteers who are essential to successful production of this event,” Grant said. “Many of them wear traditional clothing from their country. And, some of their embassies provide items to display and give away to our students.”
Countries represented this year were Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Chile, Egypt, France, Georgia, Germany, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Malaysia, Republic of Moldova, The Netherlands, Oman, Peru, Romania, Spain and United Kingdom — a dozen more countries than last year.
“The students have responded positively to this activity,” Carter said. “SuAnn Grant and the counselors from each school coordinate with our classroom teachers. They also put together a take home packet for students that includes an information letter about the volunteer opportunity at this event for international families.”
Warrant Officer Class 2 Daniel Evans, a British officer assigned with Training and Doctrine Command Intelligence Support Activity, said the international day is important to the community. He volunteered to share information about the United Kingdom with students.
“This is an opportunity for students of USD 207 to learn a little more about the international population who make up a portion of our entire community here at Fort Leavenworth,” Evans said. “If there are one or two facts I would impart to students, these would include that the United Kingdom is just as ethnically diverse as the United States. And, the fact that the United Kingdom isn’t just England, which is a common misconception.”
Fran McCollum, a volunteer and parent of three students at Bradley Elementary School, said the passports and activity guides were very useful to the students. She said her group wanted to see the cricket demonstration in front of the United Kingdom exhibit space.
Page 2 of 2 - “My group of students is excited to visit each station and get their passport stamped. This event truly is a cultural exchange,” McCollum said. “Many of the students in my group didn’t know what the sport of cricket was until they saw this demonstration.”