CELEBRATING DIVERSITY

F rom French torch songs to Spanish pop and Russian classical music, entertainment — as well as cuisine — was a true smorgasbord during Redmond High School’s (RHS) first World Languages Day celebration on March 28.

  • Monday, April 7, 2008 1:48am
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Redmond High’s World Languages Day honors different ethnicities

F rom French torch songs to Spanish pop and Russian classical music, entertainment — as well as cuisine — was a true smorgasbord during Redmond High School’s (RHS) first World Languages Day celebration on March 28.

Students of all languages offered at RHS — French, Spanish, Japanese and ELL (English Language Learning) — were invited to present music and bring in foods associated with the countries where those languages are spoken, as well as foods or diversions related to their own ethnic heritage.

“We have an amazing array of food here because of our diverse student body,” said French teacher Marcia Maxwell.

She wasn’t kidding. A stroll around the cafeteria showed platters of meatballs from Italy, Russian tea cakes, Swiss apple cake, Linzertorte from Austria, Mexican wedding cakes, Irish pancakes, challah from Israel, churros from Latin America and much more.

Students came to the cafeteria during their regular World Language class periods and happily noshed on the exotic snacks while respectfully listening to music from every corner of the world. They also decorated a hallway outside of the World Language classrooms with posters representing the languages they study and the languages they or their families speak at home.

There were colorful posters from England, Iceland, Canada, Australia, Norway, Paraguay and Brazil, to name a few.

Maxwell had organized similar celebrations in previous teaching jobs at Lake Washington High School and at a high school in Georgia, but Redmond’s such a global melting pot that it would be hard to top the variety of nations represented here.

More than half of students at RHS enroll in World Language classes. Although the classes are electives, most colleges and universities want to see some proficiency in a language other than the student’s native tongue on a high school transcript — and in today’s job market, being bilingual or multilingual is increasingly desirable.

The World Languages Day was meant to be educational, but it was also a reward for students’ hard work and willingness to welcome those whose traditions are very different than their own, said Maxwell. She hopes the celebration will become an annual RHS favorite.

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