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Around the World with a Cultural Fair at Chesapeake Academy

The school sponsors first fair to bring different cultures to students.

The families of Chesapeake Academy (CA) got to travel around the world on Saturday and didn’t even have to leave the school building.

The school held their first ever Cultural Fair, bringing the foods, art, and customs of different countries to life to educate the CA community about how others live.

“I wanted to enrich children’s knowledge of the world, to get them out of the bubble where they live,” said Renee Spears, parent volunteer and fair coordinator. “They will need to understand the culture of others to be global citizens." 

Parents and staff members volunteered their day to share their heritage from a variety of continents and countries, including Asia, Africa, India, Russia, Poland, Greece and Italy. 

Entertained by the musical group Whirled Beetz, guests were treated to numerous displays, as well as activities from the Chesapeake Children's Museum.

Vaishali Shah who grew up in India and whose children attend CA brought items she thought would interest young students, including comic books from India and her school uniform made of unique fabrics that showed the style and fashion of a different culture.

“I think it is wonderful to have this kind of event,” said Shah. “We don’t have a lot of diversity, so this is very important for the school.”

Cyril Bright brought along a variety of wooden and cloth artifacts from his home country of Liberia. A map of the country and a display of the flag emphasized the connection the country has with the United States. 

“The country was put on the map by the slaves who came back from America,” explained Bright. The country’s flag contained stripes and a star in red, white, and blue. 

Bright also displayed masks from various tribes. “Each mask represents a part of the tribe’s customs,” he explained.

Wendy Ng from the Jing Ying Institute provided calligraphy lessons on Japanese paper, while other instructors provided attendees with some kung fu and tai chi lessons.

Parent Susan Barner had laid out beautiful wooden eggs and other artifacts from her mother’s homeland of Russia. She also made “Russian ice cream.”

“It is really more like sweet cream cheese, almost like cheesecake,” Barner explained about the recipe handed down from multiple generations.

CA teacher Vicki D’Andrea described her Italy table as diplaying the three most important things about that country. “Family, faith and food is what Italians are all about,” she explained. Her pasta and other goodies made that table a popular stop.

Karin Mitchell, a staff member at CA, provided information on her Polish heritage.  “I was raised on this food, especially on the holidays,” she explained to guests.

Chesapeake Academy's Head of School Jay Scheurle visited with each table throughout the day, thanking them for spending a beautiful Saturday afternoon volunteering to educate CA students.

“The school has made multi-culturalism and diversity a big part of the curriculum, and activities like this are so important,” said Scherle. “In the 21st century, our world will become even smaller and to be successful adults, our students have to understand the cultures around us.”

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