students Laura Garcia, left, and Darcy Hennessey danced after the
United Societys assembly Monday, Dec. 9, in the school gym.
The assembly was part of the groups week-long cultural celebration,
YSHS United Society
a world of cultures
This week at Yellow Springs High School, students are looking beyond their
differences to see the similarities that bind them. Students in United
Society have organized an International Week devoting each day of the
week to recognize the food, music, clothing and all the things that make
up the cultures of the worlds different continents.
The students in Kathryn Burklands Spanish classes wore red roses
and straw hats for a traditional Mexican ribbon dance to La Bamba
at an all-school assembly Monday, Dec. 9, to kick off the week. Irish
dancers, a Native American drummer and a poem about diversity illustrated
the keynote address by the president of Urbana University, Dr. Robert
Head. He spoke of the need for educational institutions to embrace
global ideas and give students the tools to translate values
of leadership around the world.
Head has spent the past several years travelling to dozens of universities
around the world to foster exchange programs with Urbana. He recruited
several teachers from China and Poland for Urbanas masters
in education program so they could learn about the education system here,
and so that students at Urbana would learn how other countries approach
Yellow Springs High School students have similar designs. Senior Becky
Porter recognizes exchange can happen both ways.
Its important for American teenage students to know about
different countries, she said. Exchange students here know
all this stuff about our country, but here nobody knows about other places.
With the help of United Society advisor and biology teacher Iyabo Eguaroje
students are working to change that. Tuesday was Asia Day. Students made
nori rolls to sell at lunchtime, and they were encouraged to wear traditional
clothing of any Asian country. The display case in the front hall housed
a map of India, a red silk Mandarin childs dress, a Korean childrens
book, and other items and information United Society members gathered
about Asian countries.
The same activities are planned for each of the worlds other continents
on their designated days. Monday was North America Day, Wednesday was
for Australia, Thursday for South America and Friday will be for Africa.
Since there are more continents than days in the school week, last Friday,
Dec. 6, was Europe Day. The culture of the continent of Antarctica, however,
was hard to pin down for lack of population there.
International week goes public with a gala this Saturday, Dec. 14, from
6 to 8 p.m., at YSHS. The community is invited to attend. Students Teresa
Carver and Nathanya Dallas will perform Irish dancing, local acappella
group Act 5 will sing a blues number, local belly dancers will swing their
middle sections, and Spanish students will dance again. Admission is $5
for adults, and $2 for students and seniors.
Twenty-three United Society students have been planning the week since
September. This is the fourth year the group has organized a week and
the second year for an all-school assembly.
I see Yellow Springs students want to know about other people,
Eguaroje said. The best way to understand each other is to see the
ways we are alike are greater than the differences we have.