East Hartford High School students celebrate Holidays Around the World

By Corey AmEnde - Staff Writer
East Hartford - posted Wed., Dec. 18, 2013
(L-r) Brienda Breio, Rhodalyn Boamah, Edwina Opoku, Rhoda Boamah, Juliet Nana Ankemah, Vera Asamoah, Priscilla Agyei and Adwoa Ataa (kneeling) represent Ghana at EHHS's 'Holidays Around the World.'  Photos by Corey AmEnde.
(L-r) Brienda Breio, Rhodalyn Boamah, Edwina Opoku, Rhoda Boamah, Juliet Nana Ankemah, Vera Asamoah, Priscilla Agyei and Adwoa Ataa (kneeling) represent Ghana at EHHS's 'Holidays Around the World.' Photos by Corey AmEnde.

Visitors to East Hartford High School on Saturday, Dec. 14, were able to experience holiday traditions and cultures from countries around the globe without ever having to board a plane at the school's first Holidays Around the World event.

“We wanted to invite the community in to see some of the different cultures that we have, and we thought the holidays would be a good time to do that,” said Louise Rivard, the advisor for the Student Council.

The event was sponsored by the Student Council and the International Club and showcased crafts, customs and foods from other countries including Puerto Rico, Vietnam, Ghana, China, Germany and the Dominican Republic.  The event ran from 9 a.m. until noon.

In the Germany booth, visitors learned about the tradition of hiding a pickle in a Christmas tree. EHHS sophomore Alivia Perry explained that the custom says whoever finds the pickle first gets a surprise. Children had the opportunity to cut out a paper pickle, glue it on a drawing of a Christmas tree and then cover it with a small piece of tissue paper. 

At the stop for Puerto Rico, children colored the nation's flag and also completed a craft project of a Coqui, a small froglike creature.

Annalicia Carrion-Hawkins was helped children make paper lanterns and try to pick up a fortune cookie with chopsticks at the table for China.  Carrion-Hawkins said the lanterns are usually used in the Chinese New Year and typically the colors are red and yellow.  The senior said she enjoyed the opportunity to work with the children.  “People learn a little bit more about the Chinese culture as well as some of the customs and at the same time they have fun making crafts,” said Carrion-Hawkins.

Monique Atkinson, the chair of Holidays Around the World and the co-chair of the Communications Committee for the Student Council, said the idea for the event was born last spring. “We were thinking that a lot of times during the holidays we’re sort of focused on our own part in the world, but we don’t see what other people’s cultures are like, and the Student Council really wanted to bridge the gap and bring it together,” she said.

Before embarking on a tour of different countries, children created a passport that they took with them on their travels, and they had them stamped at each stop. 

EHHS English teacher Michelle Sheatsley brought her two daughters to the event and said it was a good learning experience for them.  “It’s really neat to expose them to the different sort of arts - whether it’s on paper or with food or with dancing - that these other countries have,” said Sheatsley.


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