December 12, 2002

front page
more news
ad information
contact information


YSHS students Laura Garcia, left, and Darcy Hennessey danced after the United Society’s assembly Monday, Dec. 9, in the school gym. The assembly was part of the group’s week-long cultural celebration, International Week.

The YSHS United Society—
Celebrating 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 world’s different continents.

The students in Kathryn Burkland’s 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 Urbana’s master’s in education program so they could learn about the education system here, and so that students at Urbana would learn how other countries approach education.

Yellow Springs High School students have similar designs. Senior Becky Porter recognizes exchange can happen both ways.

“It’s 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 child’s dress, a Korean children’s book, and other items and information United Society members gathered about Asian countries.

The same activities are planned for each of the world’s 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.”


—Lauren Heaton