Food, music, projects prove these kids have culture

Blake Blakely and Eric Stallman dressed the part of their country of study, Vietnam, for Langley Middle School
Blake Blakely and Eric Stallman dressed the part of their country of study, Vietnam, for Langley Middle School's Culture Fair Thursday.
— image credit: Gayle Saran

An international flavor pervaded Langley Middle School Thursday evening when about 180 seventh graders presented their Culture Fair projects.

The aroma of ethnic food, the sight of colorful booths and brightly garbed students created an international fair in the school's multipurpose room.

Proud parents, teachers and administrators strolled among the booths pausing to sample food and learn more about the world from the eager students.

The most common reason a country was chosen for study was because a family member had some connection to it.

Nick Manger chose India because his great-aunt and great grandmother had been there. Part of his display included a photo of his great-aunt in traditional Indian dressing.

Mari Jane Dauman and Kayley Mulcahy chose Guatemala because Daumen's dad had lived there at one time. Older sister Kari Dauman, who was on hand at the fair, said Guatemala was her project in 1993.

"We had to start from scratch, there wasn't anything remaining of your project," Mari Jane Dauman said to her sister.

Sometimes the inspiration came because students hope to visit a certain country.

Alison Pate and Madeline Church hope to visit Wales someday and believe learning more about it will help open the door to travel.

A huge aromatic wreath of rosemary and purple onions drew people to Nile's McDonald's Switzerland display.

"Herbs and onions are the traditional symbols of harvest, an ancient practice continued today." McDonald said.

Eric Stallman and Blake Blakely chose Vietnam and wore traditional clothing from the country.

"We wanted to show how it has changed since the war," Stallman said.

The Culture Fair is an annual event at the middle school. During the evening teachers walk around and grade each exhibit. In most cases there were two students per project. Each had to do a minimum of four areas of study, ranging from politics, religions, history, language and food. A notebook highlighting the areas of study was available for reading, and typical items of the culture were on display at student booths.

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