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Webster Hill Celebrates Its Diverse Cultures in 'Around the World in 80 Minutes'

The West Hartford elementary school community held a festive celebration highlighting the 30 countries and six continents which represent its students' culture.

On Friday, Nov. 30, Webster Hill Elementary School welcomed approximately 500 children and adults to celebrate "Around the World in 80 Minutes." 

Six continents were represented by over 30 countries. Families from Webster Hill displayed educational information and authentic artifacts, cooked amazing foods, wore beautiful clothing, and shared the love of their culture.

A family stage allowed children to show their Irish step and Brazilian dance talents. A mother danced a Puerto Rican salsa dance with her son in traditional jíbaro clothing, while a mother of a first grade student sang in Ukrainian. 

It was then that the sounds of drumming filled the air. Two Vietnamese students, in the tradition of Chinese/Vietnamese New Year, took the guests and participants out of the cafeteria and down the hallway. 

The culminating event was held in the auditorium in front of a capacity crowd. The Latin trio Surcari, with the help from dozens of student volunteers, took us through the songs and sounds of Latin America.

It was an evening of amazing music, delicious food, spectacular performances, and information to be learned at each of the tables. 

Principal Jeff Wallowitz reported, “My favorite part of the evening was the beautiful pride everyone had in their culture and the genuine curiosity everyone had in the culture of others. It was a night of sharing and respect and a perfect example of why Webster Hill is so special. How fortunate are we to be in a school with so much to appreciate and learn from each other.” 

Dr. Nancy DePalma, interim assistant superintendent for instruction and curriculum reported, “Darci and helpers did a phenomenal job of pulling this wonderful community builder together. I think I most enjoyed the books from each country represented and the native clothing – exquisite! Talk about culturally relevant pedagogy in real time!”

Hats off to ESOL Teacher Darci Melchor and her team of parents and teachers for organizing the event. Months of planning, visiting area restaurants for donations and working collaboratively on the display boards paid off. 

In the words of many family members and staff who attended, “This night was perfect. When are we doing this again?” 

Submitted by Webster Hill Elementary School

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