Desiring to meet others interested in language and different cultures, 28 students and four foreign exchange students from Washington Community High School traveled to Oswego East High School to attend Global Fest, a celebration of global culture and language for junior and senior high school students.
WCHS students Joshua Volmer, Jess Earl and Noah Hahn competed in the Global Connections Bowl that day and placed second, missing first place against Central A&M in Moweaqua, Ill., by one question.
“The Global Connections Bowl is a trivia competition with world language, culture, geography and news as its theme,” Nathan Sidwell, WCHS French teacher, said. “It is done in the format of Scholastic bowl with questions and bonus questions.”
WCHS played three rounds in the Global Connections Bowl before facing Central A&M.
The question WCHS lost on was “What is the fastest-growing social site — Instagram, Pinterest or Google Plus?’
“The answer was Google Plus, but our students answered Instagram,” Heather Sandy, WCHS Spanish teacher, said.
“Students who attended had the opportunity to immerse themselves in a language, attend performances related to a culture or attend a discovery room related to a cultural aspect,” Sandy said. “The schedule is full of many options throughout the day, and students attend sessions for which they have an interest.”
Many students enjoyed hands-on activities, such as creating “Day of the Dead” ornaments and New Orleans masks, according to Spanish teacher Polly Fuller.
The Washington students and teachers participated in the Parade of Schools, and Sidwell presented a session on the French Automobile. Each school presented a Discovery Room session.
Fuller said she hopes the experience broadens student horizons.
“I hope students realize that there are opportunities for them outside of Washington, Ill.,” Fuller said. “I hope they realize that by speaking another language and appreciating other cultures, you can meet so many other people in this world.”
Junior Joshua Volmer valued his experience at Global Fest.
“I was more culturally aware after I left, having met people from different places. That is what it is all about,” Volmer said. “The outside world doesn’t seem so foreign when we realize we are all alike in someway, whether we realize it or not.”
Sidwell said Global Fest is an extension of the foreign language curriculum at WCHS.
“I think it enhances what we teach in foreign language, not only through language instruction but also by raising student awareness of the world and thus counteracting the extremities of ethnocentrism and nationalism,” Sidwell said.
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